Treehouse / RPA

© Eric Staudenmaier

Architects: RPA

Location: Nichols Canyon, , CA,

Project Area: 16 sqm

Project Year: 2009

Photographs: Eric Staudenmaier

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Located on a high eastern-facing ridge with views downtown Los Angeles in the distance, the Banyan Treehouse is a diminutive art studio and sanctuary. Rockefeller Partners was originally commissioned by this client to design a house that was ultimately never realized. Working together once again on this project, architect and client were able to revisit some of the design elements that they had originally explored in a different context, such as the striking butterfly roofline.

west elevation
west elevation

Perched atop steel pylons that abstractly emulate natural branches, the project is not literally a tree house but rather a modern interpretation of one. The design pays the ultimate respect to the pre-existing tree, literally shaping itself around the contours of the trunk. Inside, a single glass cut out in the floor reconnects the tree house inhabitant to the tree itself, a respectful and subtle nod to Mother Nature.

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© Eric Staudenmaier

Every surface of the tree house is appointed with wood, creating an unparalleled level of warmth. The exterior is clad with high-grade cedar while the underside of the eaves and the structure itself are clad with rich palope. Inside, the walnut floors are complemented by walnut paneled walls.

© Eric Staudenmaier

Serving both as a studio and as guest accommodation, the tree house is completely self-sufficient with a water closet, fireplace, refrigerator, daybed, and television. Outside, a quick walk down the stairs leads to a protected and private outdoor shower.

Cite: "Treehouse / RPA" 11 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • spass

    This is a very successful design overall. However, while I appreciate the functionality of the small space, I think design is quite complicated for such a small structure. Simpler would have been better. Inspirational!

  • Pierre Batbatian

    im speachless,,,,

  • perfect for hermits

  • Dariusz

    simple and beautiful. love the outdoor showa!! great concrete work

  • zga


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  • moop

    i would love to live in this

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  • Jeff L. J.

    My Christmas Present to myself for working so hard this past year.

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  • Miloš Milovanović

    Reading: "Treehouse / RPA | ArchDaily"( )

  • Matt

    very well done

  • John Felts

    Well done, Rocky!

  • Jeff and Sheryl Thue

    Great work guys. Almost as cool as the house you did for us!

    • Tom Preis

      Hey! Hey! Hey!

  • Shon


  • Tom Weir

    Fascinating design. Reminds me of my tree house days way back when…

  • Douglas Gordon

    Wow! You built it! Wonderfully askew structural system. Gorgeous wood- and concrete work. Beautiful detailing. (At one time, wasn’t the flue to actually run up inside a “post”?) What a wonderful spot in which to escape. Well done guys!


    BRIAN AND….Well done, A.P. BALINT!

  • Angie

    My dream treehouse! Absolutley fantastic!

  • Billy Wood

    A very cool “fort”! This is what happens when little boys grow up and become architects. I love the woodwork.

  • Mariana De Leon
  • Pingback: ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards 2009: The Finalists | ArchDaily

  • 鈴木 照実

    @KaikoKiich Treehouse / RPA | ArchDaily

  • 海子 揮一

    自分のHPづくりの参考になります。ありがとうございます。このツリーハウス、実際に見たらどうなんだろう?RT @terupunn: @KaikoKiich Treehouse / RPA | ArchDaily このサイト良くないですか?

  • Kiki Kurnia

    ..hey…that’s good job too,…you have a compactibilty between the building structure, form and the nature site..!

  • WesternRedCedar

    Wouldn't you love to live in a treehouse? From @archdaily

  • Emily Robinson

    RT @RealCedar: Wouldn't you love to live in a treehouse? From @archdaily