2010 North Alabama Chapter, American Institute of Architects Design Awards Honor Award for Askewed Vision Treehouse, Huntsville Botanical Garden.
In a response to the Botanical Garden’s “Tremendous Treehouses” Design Entry, this tree house design was chosen to be built by an architect/residential builder team on site, at a designated tree. Built during the late winter and spring, the tree house was to withstand intense family traffic through summer and fall, when it would be auctioned off and relocated. Materials from the architect’s current client’s projects were incorporated: a demolished exterior deck and hail-damaged metal roofing became the walls and railings. Other materials were purchased with a limited stipend and donated from local suppliers.
The lower “room” surrounds the tree and presents distorted wall angels and openings to the approach, and a stair suspended from a structural arch leads to the multilevel platform above, passing through a lattice space at the top. The arch spans from the ground to where it rests in a fork in the tree. The stair is designed to sway enough to give a sense of adventure to the assent, with ropes from the arch forming a triangular tunnel to the top. The upper platform accommodates a well-used picnic table. Main floor beams cantilever dramatically, supporting swings at the ground level. Open and solid railings lean out, adding to the dynamic, almost nautical feel.