Category: Drawing

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.


With a tip of the hat to Lebbeus


I scratched this out in about 10 minutes yesterday morning before work. My son has been asking me if we could build a treehouse. Of course that sounds like a fantastic idea to me.

The first challenge is the tree. The backyard is wooded and we have several trees to choose from but none are really stout enough to support a really significant structure. My thought was to hug the tree with a lightweight construction that would be part chrysalis and part belly dancer. It’ll wrap and hug the tree close and be articulated to shimmy as the wind blows and the tree flexes.

P.S. – Sorry for phoning this one in. Look for more on it later. I’m taking my son to a chess tournament on Saturday. If this sounds like watching paint dry you’re right – even for a proud papa. I’ll take my sketchbook.