Treehouse / RPA

© Eric Staudenmaier

Architects: RPA

Location: Nichols Canyon, Los Angeles, 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 , 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 17 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    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!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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!

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Hi,I am iqbal. I am a student of architecture.This is a nice work.
    Would You mind to give me the plan,elevation,and section of this project.Plaese……

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