Category: Design

Treehouse Redux

Treehouse Redux


Smaller is Better. Really.


There is an old saw in the mountain biking world. Attributed to Keith Bontrager it goes something like this: “Light, strong, cheap – Pick any two.” This is actually an expression of a much more universal law of design and it is nowhere more true than it in construction.

For instance, if the size of a building is determined by its function and the cost is determined by the available budget, then the quality of the construction is already established. Conversely, if a project is seen as being too expensive and the program can’t be reduced then it can only be brought into budget by reducing the quality.

There’s another arrangement of this rule that is often overlooked and it’s the one that a good architect will always try to encourage a client to pursue. So please: “Let’s make your project as small as we can make it so that we can make it as nice as we can make it.”

Oh, and the sketch is entirely unrelated to this post.


All I want to be…


I haven’t posted in a week. Sorry about that. I kind of went down the rabbit hole with the treehouse. It’ll be worth it eventually, I promise, but until then there’s this:

The picture above hangs over my desk at work. My wife purchased it for me as a birthday gift (thanks honey!). The haiku was written by a guy named John Maeda in 2007. The original blog post with the haiku appears to be gone but you can learn more about him here: and here: John was President at RISD before becoming part of a venture capital firm.

All I have been able to find out about the image is here: