All in the trees

1985 Projects, Surrey, 2017


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all in the trees_ tree house and walkway view from across the lake 

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  • all in the trees_ tree house and walkway view from across the lake    
  • all in the trees_ birds eye view    
  • all in the trees_ view from lake    
  • all in the trees_ approach from eastern side    
  • all in the trees_ rear balcony from a high    
  • all in the trees_ walkway as landscape    
  • all in the trees_trees as anchors for walkway route    
  • all in the trees_ balcony-jetty-tree    
  • all in the trees_ final approach on walkway    
  • all in the trees_ top of walkway    
  • all in the trees_ interior view looking towards lake    
  • all in the trees_ interior, windows framing views     
  • all in the trees_ interior view from front balcony    
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  • all in the trees_treehouse view from across the lake    
  • all in the trees_internal glow at dusk    
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A sensitive yet bold approach to a timber tree house with 45m walkway.

The brief was to design and build a space that was fully inclusive for a family who had wheelchair requirements; it would connect with the landscape and be a space that would age with the family
The site was a tight island-like piece of land resting between a garden with lake to the south, and fields to the north. Designing inclusive access through the means of a 45 meter ramp required a sensitive yet bold attitude. The approach to this was to nestle the structure in by making the architectural moves correspond with the existing tree formation and landscape. The landscape weaved the journey of the walkway to the tree house. The outcome was a walkway that not only felt nestled but a walkway that elevated the site and opened up the experience of the site and the surrounding countryside. The journey up to the tree house became one of moments, interactions and play for all to enjoy
Freshly sawn Larch was used for the flooring and handrail throughout, some being felled only 10 miles from the site. Locally sourced chestnut pales were used for the balustrade
The structure itself was built on treated timber poles that were bolted to stainless steel plates; these in turn were bolted to 1200mm ground screws. This made for no concrete being used in the foundations, resulting in very little disturbance to the eco system of the site
Externally, the Cedar shingle roof aims to wrap the entire building creating a greater sense of shelter. The roof and sidewall extremities were slightly extended on one side to create protection, whilst pulling the other side back to offer light into the house. A generous space to the end of the walkway offers long views to the north, this space also offers a moment to jump onto the slide and slide towards the lake
An exterior chest level shelf pulls one's eye in to reach the first view of the interior tree. The chestnut tree presents itself, standing tall as it stretches through but not touching the interior space. Bespoke lead flashing was made for the roof with a fabric detail to make watertight yet offering movement
Interior side windows are at low level to offer views only once seated. To the front, floor to ceiling glass provides views of the lake that offset cosy built-in seating to the rear. The balcony space at the front offers close contact to the lake. Here, a gate from the balcony presents an alternative route down by zip line over the lake

he project was collaboration between designer and carpenter-joiner where all parties were involved in all phases of the build.


  • Begun: May 2017
  • Completed: Oct 2017
  • Floor area: 18m2
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £68,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jan 2017
  • Procurement: Design and Build
  • Address: Drummond House, Surrey, RH6 0ET, United Kingdom

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