Yellow Treehouse Restaurant

It’s not every day that a commission to design a treehouse was offered, so Pacific Environments Architects jumped at the chance to construct an off-the-wall functioning restaurant for a ‘reality’ TV advert for Yellow Pages.

The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant (All photos are credited to Pacific Environments)

The design firm had to source all products and services through Yellow Pages listings (the book, online and mobile).

An enormous Redwood tree was eventually selected on which the treehouse was to be built, measuring over 40m high and 1.7m diameter at the base, on a site north of Auckland.

The concept proved challenging and required the help of various consultants to obtain both Resource Consent, Building Consent and construction underway in a very limited time.

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

The tree house aimed to inspire through many forms. 

Reminiscent of childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination, the tree house concept was intended to inspire 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 could also be seen as a lantern, a beacon at night. In the daytime, it might be a semi camouflaged growth, or a tree fort that provides an outlook and that offers refuge. The plan form also loosely replicates a sea shell with the open ends spiralling to the centre .

The structure sits almost 10m wide and over 12m high, with the split-level floor sitting 10m off the ground.


Timber trusses support the main structure. The curved fins are glue-laminated pine while plantation poplar were used for the slats and redwood milled from the site were 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 around the pod.