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BOOK REVIEW: My Cool Treehouse by Jane Field-Lewis, photography by Tina Hillier

| 7 January 2017 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: My Cool Treehouse by Jane Field-Lewis, photography by Tina Hillier

September 2016
Hardcover, $29.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Non-Fiction / Photography / Lifestyle / Interior Design


Literature, too, understands this principle. Magical tales are spun by Enid Blyton or her faraway trees while Tolkien’s elf houses and Roald Dahl’s The Minpins unashamedly take delight in harnessing the imaginative power of the treehouse.
The satisfaction of leaving all your worldly worries behind as you climb up into the sanctuary of a tree is still very seductive. Perhaps it’s this other-worldly sensation that grabs ups as children and never leaves us even as we make the transition to adults.

My Cool Treehouse showcases an assortment of awe-inspiring treehouses, grouped into categories ranging from simple and handmade through to eclectic and modern. 

Within these pages you will find information, style notes, and images of treehouses created in exploration, to fulfill a particular need, or to fit into unusual landscapes, and the book itself will appeal to many readers on different levels.

For those who love collections of photos that adhere to a theme while still pushing the boundaries of said theme, this is a gorgeous book  to look at. The people who enjoy more information in terms of the atmosphere, and the setting of the scene, as well as additional links for more information one the architects and photography. 

This reviewer’s favourites from the book include:

Tudor Treehouse:

Within the grounds of one of England’s finest Elizabethan houses stands what is thought to be the world’s oldest treehouse. Its first recorded mention was in 1692 and it was renovated in 1760 and again in 1980. Sitting in and between the branches of an ancient large-leaved lime tree, it echoes the half-timbered style of the main house and is braced by sturdy steel props.


Dartmoor Cocoon Treehouse:

It took only five days to create this striking treehouse, which was inspired by a weaver bird’s nest and constructed as part of a ‘special structures’ course during Dartmoor Arts Week in Devon, England. The brief from the local landowners and farmers was to produce a safe play space for their grandchildren.

This unique treehouse takes the form of a pod 1.8m [6ft] in diameter and with a circular seat within its 10sq m [107sq ft]. Access is via a walkway that climbs up the steep slope to the tree. The structural form and physical quality of the weaver bird’s nest appealed to Tate because it looks ‘dramatic but safe and secure’.


The Honey Sphere:

Truly a rock star’s treehouse, this was built for Robby Krieger, the guitarist in the Doors, in his Beverley Hills backyard. Robby wanted somewhere to relax, feel immersed in nature, watch the wildlife and, of course, play his guitar. Dustin had already built a treehouse on the same street and such was its appeal that the other neighbours commissioned them, too, making it ‘treehouse alley’.


Bird Apartment:

This was designed as a bird multi-occupancy ‘apartment building’ and one-person treehouse. The commonality is an adjoining wall drilled with 78 tiny holes, which results in a unique, experiential birdhouse cum peep show – a conceptual piece brought into reality. The aim was to capture the small but amazing moments in life that we appreciate but don’t linger over. This treehouse promotes and increases our access to and interest in the natural world. Here the birds clearly take precedence over the humans; we are just visitors, spectators and an audience. The designers describe it as ‘collective housing for many birds and one person’.


All in all this is a quick read with a nice cross-section of treehouse styles and enough information to give readers a taste without getting too heavy. As a result this would probably not add much in the way of new information for those with a deep love of architecture, but the fact that it explores a slightly different medium means it should be interesting for them, regardless, and some of the pictures are truly fascinating.


Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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