Tree house / Sander Architects

Architects: Sander Architects
Location: Wilmington, Delaware,
Project Year: 2002-2004
Construction Year: 2004-2006
Photographs:


The design and building of Tree House was a labor of love. I designed this house for my sister, her first house. The death of our father allowed her the funds to build it.

Tree House sits on a cul-de-sac at the end of a mature subdivision in Wilmington, DE, USA. It is filled with century-old deciduous trees, which form a magnificent canopy 150 feet above the site. A stream runs around the house, and because of certain restrictions of the Army Corps of Engineers and because of the potential for flooding, the buildable area is quite small. This induced us to design a vertical house, with raised Living Room and Master Suite. These spaces give one the feeling of being in the trees.

The stairs inside were fabricated at the performance stage shop where my sister works. They are made of 1/2″ aluminum plate, with two treads in each unit. Shades of purple set the color scheme: dark aubergine curtains, a grey-purple stone for the wall which encloses the fireplace and media storage. Horizontal windows encircle the house, providing select views into the landscape. In contrast to these small views, a great wrapping window in the double-height Living Room provides a dominant diagonal focus for the house, and leads views into the deep woods to the northeast.

A roof deck provides a view in all directions from a height of 35 feet in the air.

Cite: "Tree house / Sander Architects" 15 Jan 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 01 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=11573>

15 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like the exterior more than the interior.It is more”honest”.Clean,simple,”wood in the woods”.The interior is more “messy”…There’s the feeling,that the house(exterior,plans..)was designed by one person,and the interior-by another.
    It must be fun to sit between the branches on the roof:)

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    exterior is a nice economical and restrained [but indisciplined] take on the old gwathmey houses. the interior aside from the stair, is less successful with silly angled walls and a lack of a spatial confidence. the doors to the office when the master sinks are open.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    How do you, safely, change the light blubs?

    Look at the track lighting in the photo with the the fireplace. Who would want to be on a ladder that tall?

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        yea, goodluck navigating a super tall ladder in and out of a space that’s not bigger than a postage stamp. I agree – poor spatial decision making here – interior / exterior.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This shares a problem I see with a lot of contemporary American residential architecture. The inside is a little bit of a mess…materials/colors/forms. It’s as if you’re not earning your keep unless you busy things up a bit. From the plan, you wouldn’t assume this kind of slightly spastic interior.

    I get the feeling they’re trying to do a L. Kahn thing with those aluminum corner windows, but it’s doesn’t feel right to me.

    Give me spartan Swiss interiors any day of the week over this.

    Otherwise, I think it’s interesting work for the States.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I do not agree that this house is a tree house. I prefer the one on “Swiss Faimly Robinson”

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I agree that the outside is better planned than the inside. It also has a very peculiar appearance, due to its proportions that are a bit unusual, but this just adds something special to this building. This my opinion.

    • Thumb up Thumb down -1

      Well, each of our designs is for the specific client and site. But we can start with this as an inspiration and see where it takes us.

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