Tree House

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When a 40-year-old pine tree fell over at the rear of a Brentwood estate in Los Angeles, the owner decided to honor its resilience by incorporating it into a 172-square-foot office / guest house.


While most tree houses have a trunk running vertically, this one floats above the tree, suggesting the delicate tension between nature and the built environment. The gallery and the guest cottage are perched atop a hill and overlooks canyon vistas, downtown Los Angeles and the Getty Center.


The creators are Rockefeller Partners Architects, which spent about eight months on the design. ” We had a bunch of fun with it ” said Chris Kempel, the architect.


The entry and stairs to the tree house complex was sculpted from exposed, unpainted concrete, designed to suggest the ladder of a traditional tree house.


The tree house serves as well as modern-day amenities like a daybed, a sink, a toilet, a small refrigerator, a fireplace and a microwave.


To connect back to the fallen tree, the architects carved a portal in the walnut floor, affording a view of the inspiration for the house itself.


Materials and craft have a significant role inside and out. The columns are Type 316 stainless steel almost nautical grade. Floors and walls are walnut; windows are mahogany.


The whole process of designing the house took about eight months.Construction of the inhabitable sculpture, with its studio and lounge, took another 18 months.


Large floor-to-ceiling windows and doors provide abundant natural light and ventilation.


The outdoor shower below the tree house was shaped and formed from concrete to be a truly private experience.

Photos by: Eric Staudenmaier

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