Treehouse is a single family residence located on a park in Seattle, WA. Built on an inaccessible, steep slope lot, the project overcame significant design and construction challenges to create a unique home elevated in the trees.
In response to both budget and zoning limitations, the house utilizes a compact 24’ x 30’ floor plate to create 1644 SF of living space on three levels. The upper levels of the house consist of a studio loft and an open plan living/kitchen/dining organized around a central skylight. The spaces overlap in section around the central skylight to create a sequence of interconnected spaces that are both open/closed to each other and to the park: living/dining look north into the trees through a wall of windows; kitchen faces east and opens to a cantilevered deck; and the mezzanine looks up to the tree tops and sky. The lower level contains all private and utility spaces consisting of two small bedrooms, a bathroom and laundry room. The bedrooms are small volumes with floor to ceiling glazing opening to the park. The lower level opens to a “play pen” suspended above the steep slope lot and provides a sheltered place to play and relax in the forest understory. This deck also gives access to a path running through the forest to the owner’s P-Patch garden plot.
The building structure / mechanical systems employed or put in place green technologies to the greatest extent possible within budget limitations. The house used SIPS panels for the roof structure and high efficiency BIBs in all framed walls. Heat is provided by a hydronic radiator system with HRV ventilation. The operable skylight creates an effective stack effect for passive ventilation and cooling. Dual flush toilets, low flow fixtures, and Energy Star appliances are used throughout the home.
The building’s exterior both camouflages and accentuates the building within its surrounding. The steel structure of the carport, driveway and house will be painted orange while the building itself is clad in multi-colored asphalt roll roofing referencing the gray/green bark of the surrounding trees. The skylight gestures up from the building and is clad in galvanized metal. These materials were chosen for affordability / durability, their lack of finishing requirements and their material connection to treehouses and outbuildings, as well as their expressive potential to evoke tree bark.
Additional Information: Square footage: 1644 Contractor: Francis Build Structural Engineer: Todd Perbix Photography: Philip Newtown and Steve Hanson