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Banyan Drive Treehouse

Rockefeller Partners Architects

Shared By

dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Banyan Drive Treehouse

Project Status



172 sq. feet


  • Christopher Kempel, AIA, NCARB

Room or Space



Design Awards

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Project Description

Nestled in the back corner of a Brentwood hills estate with exceptional views of the Getty Center and downtown Los Angeles, this 172 square foot accessory building was designed as a modern-day treehouse, reflective of the client’s childhood affinity for such a retreat. Critical to the execution of its design was finding a suitable tree. Having few options, it was decided to incorporate a live but fallen tree over which the structure would hover. A visual connection between the two is achieved through a view port in the floor, symbolic of the hatch found in many backyard treehouses. Access is up a flight of concrete stairs, along a sculpturally sloped concrete wall and outdoor shower surround, then to an open metal and wood plank stair, our interpretation of the treehouse “ladder”. Located in a tight corner, the unique shape of the plan was influenced by the restrictions and setback requirements of the site. While relatively small, the space is equipped with modern-day amenities, such as a toilet, kitchenette, fireplace, desk and daybed. Carefully considered details and materials, such as walnut planks and paneling and ipe wood ceilings, eaves and decks, add to the richness of the structure. Large floor-to-ceiling mahogany windows and doors provide views, natural light and ventilation. Because of the tight location, construction was a challenge. Angled steel columns serve as the superstructure and are representative of “tree trunks”. All exterior materials including cedar plank exterior cladding, the stainless steel rails and exposed concrete walls were chosen for their beauty and durability. We believe the treehouse is eligible for an award for: its unique beauty and design; its construction complexity and challenges; and for creating that sense of sanctuary desired by the client that we all felt in the treehouses of our childhood.
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