Yellow Treehouse

The Redwoods Treehouse was commissioned as part of a marketing campaign by Yellow in 2008. Pacific Environments Architects designed the concept which was nature-inspired; striking pod-shaped form which was reminiscent of a chrysalis protecting an emerging butterfly. The structure was built ten metres high in a Redwood tree near Warkworth, north of Auckland. Access to the Treehouse is provided by an elevated tree – top walkway which was built using Redwood milled on site. When the campaign was complete the ownership passed to the landowner. The Experience Group has secured the exclusive rights to manage this popular structure and it is now available for use as a private venue. Redwoods Treehouse is a versatile space as a corporate venue for private functions and events. The pod itself holds 30 guests either at seated tables or casual stand up. It is fully licensed and consent has been granted for guests to enter by private vehicle, or you can utilise the Experience Group Travel's 32-seat coach.

It sits almost 10m wide and over 12m high, with the split-level floor sitting 10m off the ground. The treehouse is built over a 40m high and 1.7m diameter at the base redwood tree.


The Architectural component embodies a simple oval form wrapped ‘organically’ around the trunk and structurally tied at top and bottom, with a circular plan that is split apart on the axis with the rear floor portion raised. This allows the approach from the rear via a playful tree-top walkway experience, slipping inside the exposed face of the pod and being enchanted by the juxtaposition of being in an enclosed space that is also quite 'open' and permeable to the treetop views. There is also a ‘Juliet’ deck opposite the entrance that looks down the valley.

The scale and form of the tree-house creates a memorable statement without dominating it’s setting. While it’s natural ‘organic’ form sits comfortably, the rhythm of the various materials retains it’s strong architectural statement. The verticality of the fins mimics the verticality of the redwoods and enable the building to naturally ‘blend’ into it’s setting, as though it were a natural growth.

It sits almost 10m wide and over 12m high, with the split-level floor sitting 10m off the ground. Timber trusses form the main structure. The curved fins are glue-laminated pine, plantation poplar has been used for the slats and redwood milled from the site used in the walkway balustrading. Openings are formed for windows by leaving spaces between the slats/fins that keeps the overall form yet affords a variety of openness for the views and light and closes down toward the rear. To loosen the regularity of the elements, steel is wrapped arbitrarily around the pod. Tying this up at the top and base has a sense of greater connection with the tree.

It is designed to be weather resistant using acrylic sheeting fixed to the roof under the fins with vertical roll-down café-style blinds within. Lighting is an important architectural component enhancing and changing the mood, with discreet lighting within the walkway and up-lighting within the tree house.

The selected site and tree had to meet a myriad of functional requirements -18 seated people and waiting staff in relative comfort complete with a bar; gaining correct camera angles with associated light qualities for filming the adverts, web cam and stills, have unobstructed views into the valley and entrance to the site and structural soundness . The final selected tree is one of the larger trees on the site and sits above a steep part of the site which accentuates the tree's height. Kitchen/catering facilities and toilets are at ground level.

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