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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Restaurant
  4. New Zealand
  5. Pacific Environments
  6. 2009
  7. Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments

  • 01:00 - 18 March, 2009
Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments
Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments +49

  • Architects

  • Location

    Auckland, New Zealand
  • Architects

    Peter Eising & Lucy Gauntlett
  • Project Managers

    The Building Intelligence Group - Gareth Skirrow, Blair Wolfgram, Joe Holden
  • Engineers

    Holmes Consulting - Chris MacKenzie & John Worth, Martin Feeney - Holmes Fire
  • Lighting

    ECC Lighting & Furniture - Renee Kelly
  • Building Contractors

    NZ Strong - Shane Brealey, Paddy Molloy, Megan Roberts; Citywide Construction Ltd - Jim Bellamy
  • Project Year


From the architect. It's not often that a commission to design a treehouse is offered, so when Colenso BBDO - on behalf of Yellow Pages briefed Pacific Environments Architects for a ‘reality' TV advert for an off-the-wall functioning restaurant, Pacific Environments jumped at the opportunity. Working alongside Tracey Collins and her team , the idea was to source all products and services through Yellow Pages listings (the book, online and mobile). It has paid us to be in Yellow - that's how we were chosen and we are getting a great profile as a result.

PEL assisted project managers The Building Intelligence Group, Colenso BBDO and Yellow in the selection of the enormous Redwood tree on which the treehouse is to be built which is over 40m high and 1.7m diameter at the base, on a site north of Auckland.

The concept proved challenging and encompassed a range of consultants to get both Resource Consent, Building Consent and construction underway in a very limited time. We've never been involved in a project quite like this before!

Architectural Concept

The concept is driven by the ‘enchanted' site which is raised above an open meadow and meandering stream on the edge of the woods.

The tree-house concept is reminiscent of childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination . It's inspired through many forms found in nature -the chrysalis/cocoon protecting the emerging butterfly/moth, perhaps an onion/garlic clove form hung out to dry. It is also seen as a lantern, a beacon at night that simply glows yet during the day it might be a semi camouflaged growth, or a tree fort that provides an outlook and that offers refuge.The plan form also has loose similarities to a sea shell with the open ends spiralling to the centre .

It's the treehouse we all dreamed of as children but could only do as an adult fantasy.

Access is via a 60m tree-top ‘accessible' walkway -an adventure in itself.

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.

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.

A team of consultants working alongside the architects includes fire and structural engineers (Holmes Consulting Group), town planners and aborists to meet functional and Building Code requirements as well as NZ Strong our builders.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments" 18 Mar 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Saif Shakeel · October 17, 2016

what is the cost of construction. i m doing a research and cost is one of the major parameter for my study. I m an architecture student, 4th year.

Florin Giuroiu · January 17, 2016

From outside it doesn't seemed that big at all.

Ivan Muta · October 27, 2014


Witkowski Boguslaw · August 15, 2013

Creative romantic invasion. The inhabitants should be particularly aware of the other wood invaders (insects and mushrooms)

Hatch InteriorDESIGN · June 19, 2012

A treehouse restaurant? Definitely something to check out if visiting New Zealand!

J-C St-Pô · January 24, 2012

adult fantasy...

Meaghan McCall · January 22, 2012

adult fantasy...

5D · December 20, 2011
Alphome · October 03, 2011

???????? ?? ?????? ?? Pacific Environments Architects Ltd

Keegan Fepuleai · September 14, 2011

@Honebegood wanna shoot here:

Keegan Fepuleai · September 14, 2011

would you pay $50 to goto a super exclusive event here?
that would include transport too and from the gig

biophilia design · July 08, 2011

???????????????????????????????????????????Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments | ArchDaily via @archdaily

iamzomlive · December 22, 2010

???????????????? ??????????????????? Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Baiol · October 27, 2010

Very interesting project. But if there are no trees? But very much it would be desirable to construct restaurant in "air". It is possible to use concrete columns and to sheathe their wooden designs.
But as a whole very interesting decision, and main-non-standard.
Respect to the architect.

Henare · October 05, 2010

I was absolutely sickened by the description of the attachment of the metal girdle ( two infact) to the tree. Two 150mm dia pins were also drilled through the tree to fixed the platforms in place. The Architect oblivious to his words said that the tree tightened around the drill bits as they drilled deeper into the heart of the trunk. The drills were extracted a number of times to weld the bits that broke inside. Short of doing this to one of your own children, and putting on display. Its is like the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. No I will not be eating there thank you.

Tam Irvine · January 18, 2017 08:12 PM

Haha you're demented. Trees are not sentient and this one is an introduced species anyway.

SRF · September 21, 2015 01:05 AM

Hi there, where was this text? So sorry for your distress. Did you know that the tree is still going strong? There doesn't seem to have been any lasting damage, and those trees were originally grown for harvesting?

Doda AlEisa · July 15, 2010

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant / Pacific Environments | Arch Daily
WoW !

Maria Laura Affini · May 07, 2010

legalzinho o restaurante...

Rob Wells · April 29, 2010

Really cool tree house, not the kiddy type... sculptural and all!

Pepijn Meyer · April 19, 2010

Pretty cool: I definitely need to go to New zealang!

Chantal Suárez · March 30, 2010

A tree house taken to a whole new level:

Mert Kocaman · February 22, 2010

RT @gargoylehead: Tasar?m?n s?n?rlar? zorlamas?na iyi bir örnek: ...

Eren Kürkçüo?lu · February 20, 2010

Tasar?m?n s?n?rlar? zorlamas?na iyi bir örnek:

suzannejoyce · February 10, 2010

shares (Did you ever dream to have a treehouse?)

Emilio · September 24, 2009

The project looks really nice. I agree with the tree comments....and it´s evident that you are going to have a long way to the bathroom...

oscar falcón lara · September 23, 2009

I like everything about this restaurant. The project blog once had recipes of the food they are planning to serve there, can't wait to go and taste.

sirisha bysani · July 06, 2009


Lawrence · June 27, 2009


riceroll · June 18, 2009

like it very much..

rocky · June 12, 2009

Sorry for the tree

Keomi · March 23, 2009

Looks beautiful, but what about those steel collars, they'll girdle the growth of the trunk. This can only be a temporary building or the tree will die!

SRF · September 21, 2015 01:06 AM

Tree is still going strong! Plus the tree was originally grown for harvesting. So all in all a fab outcome - the trees still standing and hasn't become firewood!

Liam · March 21, 2009

New Zealand Architecture Represent!!

J Burgher · March 20, 2009


At least the area wasn't cleared to make way for the structure. While we're focusing on micro-ecosystems, why not focus on the ones which the source material was taken from?

I'm a fan of treehouses, but start to finish this thing just looks like an onion.

Yuli · March 20, 2009

I could hear those trees crying for help..
sigh, like putting ballerina skirt on chihuahua

pretty...yet too much.

Lucas Gray · March 20, 2009

Its a poetic design and doesn't seem to be damaging the surrounding ecosystem. In fact I'm sure its better than 99.9 percent of the buildings we put up these days. It also could spark visitor's imaginations and consciousness of the environment around them. I'm all for it.

One · March 20, 2009

Love it. Wonderful. Should make a kit and sell it.

jc · March 20, 2009

Agree with Troy. Let's hope it doesn't rain for the restaurant's sake not for the tree's haha NOT. Doesn't seem like the food is being cooked literally at the restaurant. I'd love to be a waiter there and walk those long walks just to serve a dish.

Troy Lemieur · March 20, 2009

Let's curb the hostility and make a valid point, truth boy. The TRUTH, in fact, might just be that these tree-houses popping up all over the internet are more damaging to the micro environment of the tree than anything. They block vital highways for wildlife to the canopy, such as ants, bugs, birds, and rodents. Humans should no encroach on dense ecosystems if they don't have to.
Do we really need an outdoor tree-house in the middle of the woods with a restaurant in it?

your ma · April 25, 2010 03:12 AM


freddy wolf · March 19, 2009

Great ! Like a Star Wars scenery !
Too bad the furniture wasn't designed
alongside too. The link with nature gets
lost when you see these banal tables and
chairs in it. Why is the interior so flat?
There should have been levels in it, and
a ladder to reach the top. It's like they
got scared along the way.

Deele · March 19, 2009

I would say, in sketches it looks so brilliant idea, but realization is somewhat, unfinished... Anyway, I like it! I would like such a resaurant at our forest... :)

Kim Web · March 19, 2009

I am astounded every day by what creative minds people have. This is so amazing, what an idea to have a restaurant build around a tree like that and using wood to create it. It looks so romantic, in some way it can be used to create environmental conscious.

zarza · March 19, 2009

Love trees, love architecture..this is kinda creepy. The same form constructed high in the tree canopy but independent of the actual trees would have had to stand on its own merits without the 'treehouse' gimmickry. Is this the new green world- fuzzy hippie thinking repackaged and put on the menu ... bugs in the soup, anyone?

odris · March 19, 2009

stunning project, love it!


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