Intial design discussions between Phil and Stephen Gage began in the rear garden of his home, Stoke Newington [London, UK], in the autumn of 2001.
The site, an apple tree planted over two decades ago by the father of the client [Stephen], already possessed two securely fixed beams within the canopy from which hung a swing. It was decided that the treehouse would make use of this exisiting intervention.
References for the treehouse started to be plucked from the garden. GK Chesterton's 'A Club of Queer Trades' was also referred to, in which a treehouse 'hanging by a cunning mechanism' is described as being 'an enormous, dark egg-shaped thing, pendant in the branches like a waps's nest'.
A simple design was settled upon, comprising a marine ply ladder and base with integrated hatch opening, wrapped with two 'leaves' of 4mm white polycarbonate [40% light transmission]. There would be no roof.
Fabrication of the elements began offsite during the winter of 2002 in the Bartlett workshop. The base was completed first in order to provide a profile around which to wrap the rectangular sheets of polycarbonate. Once wrapped and held in tension the precise form of each leaf could be drawn directly on the material together with fixing points, skirt details and degree of overlap. The leaves could then be removed for all cutting, profiling and finishing to occur on the undeveloped surface.
When re-developed, the two leaves are held using bespoke clips milled from offcuts of the material, with milled powder-coated steel clips securing the leaves through elevational slots in the ply base.
The treehouse was erected over the course of a day in the early spring.
Magical games of reflectance and silhouette continue to play out across its surface.
'Site Lines', Gage, S., in 'Off the Radar', Architectural Design [vol.73 - no.1], Carter, B. & LeCuyer, A. [eds.]. 2003
'musee virtuel de la micro-architecture', IFA-CHAILLOT, France. 2003