This amazing Outlandia treehouse artist studio and urban escape is set in a small wood of Norwegian Spruce up in the idyllic Scottish Highlands near Ben Nevis. When asked by the Highland Council to create a lasting contemporary art legacy for the Year of Highland Culture, art organization London Fieldworks dreamt up Outlandia, and asked Malcolm Fraser Architects to translate their ideas to design.
The tree house is reachable via a quarter-mile boardwalk, which was built by students of Lochaber College’s Environmental Conservation group. Outlandia has a small artist studio, connected to a larger Hub tower. Designed as a sustainable project with a minimal footprint, it was constructed entirely from local timber by local workers.
The studio is reachable by a bridge that spans the level of the surrounding tree canopies. The Hub will serve as the common area, where artists in residence may eat, socialize, rest, or dry clothing, and it also serves as the visitor welcome center and a meeting place for art events or lectures. The isolated studio offers solitude amid nature — with a birdseye view to boot.
Inspired by childhood dens, forest outlaws, wildlife shelters and Japanese poetry, Outlandia celebrates the “unspoiled wilderness” of the Scottish Highlands, linking the environment with creativity. The Scottish Highlands themselves are rich with folklore, setting the perfect stage for this project.
London Fieldworks curates the works in and around Outlandlia, including a trompe l’oeil’ library that is painted in the interior by Adam Dant. The group plans to continue using Outlandia as a multi-purpose platform for the use of community groups, artists, researchers and those who are young at heart.
Images © Malcolm Fraser Architects