Who hasn’t driven past the Redwoods Treehouse with a carload of kids and had all of them shrieking, “Where is it, where is it – there it is!” Everyone else is pretty keen to see it, too. There’s just something about that sleek pod high in the trees: magical, fairytale, otherworldly… almost alien. It’s had more written about it globally than any other piece of architecture in New Zealand. And you can book it for a party. Since it was built in the redwoods forest just north of Puhoi for a Yellow Pages ad around eight years ago, the Treehouse has garnered a lot of attention. Colenso BBDO took out just about every award possible in NZ for the campaign, and many internationally too, including a coveted Yellow Pencil at the global D&AD awards. Architect Peter Eising from Pacific Architects says it’s become the symbol of their company; instantly recognisable and always eliciting gasps from the rare person who hasn’t yet seen it.
The shape and concept fires the imagination of children, we know that. So who better to create more for? Prototypes of Peter’s mini ‘InTreePod’ playhouses for kids reside in the Pacific Environments offices in Mt Eden, and he has the plans for more. But he’s been too busy to chase down a ‘quantity’ price, which means the ones he can make right now are really rather expensive. He’s happy to discuss requirements though…
However, back to business: whether corporate or private, your event can indeed happen in the Treehouse. It will comfortably fit thirty for a sit-down event, or fifty for canapés. And the answer to the big question – yes, they can do autumn, winter and spring events: the Treehouse has special blinds and heating that will ensure you’ll be snug as bugs.
However, Maree, the events manager, does caution that in winter proper your guests would have to rug up as well, as the space is not completely enclosable. It’s also about the walkway – the catering kitchen is at the base of it, so all food and drinks need to be carried up the ramp (yes, it’s wheelchair friendly) to the Treehouse. The loos are down here, too. So if it’s raining, it’s not ideal.
There have been some memorable events held in this extraordinary space. Dedicated Junction partiers think its crying out for a themed party and that it would lend itself remarkably well to fantasy, woodland animals or lumberjack concepts. No doubt readers have their own ideas.
Foodwise, the Treehouse crew made the decision to keep it high-end at all times by designating three Auckland-based caterers whose work they know well. Dawsons, Collective Hospitality, or Gattings can provide canapes, three courses, or the full blowout of a six-course degustation menu. The Treehouse is fully licenced.
It’ll be in on screen again soon. Earlier this year, parts of The Shannara Chronicles were filmed there. This is a TV series based on fantasy books written by Terry Brooks, featuring demons, heroes and an ancient tree called the Ellcrys. Perfect casting for the Redwoods Treehouse, no doubt.
This is not the only recent film crew action there though: George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces stopped by earlier this year to film a show too. Maree is not sure when this will be aired but promises to let Junction know (like our Facebook page for updates).
Architectural interest in the Treehouse is maintained at a healthy level. Peter Eising is still flying round the world on the back of it – plans are currently going through the approval process for twin Treehouses at a resort in Poland, on the Baltic Coast. And the day Junction spoke to Peter there were engineers and executives from Timber Lab (the folk who make the specialised laminated pine sheets for the Treehouse) coming in to discuss a project in Myanmar where the developer wants to put a number of them on an island off the coast.
It’s ok though – we won’t be losing the unique selling-point of ‘our’ Treehouse: the construction team have decided it’s probably best to mount future ones on wooden or steel poles rather than trees. Redwoods are perfect, but not everyone has them after all.
Most excitingly, we can now reveal that discussions have started to put around ten of the endearing pods into a new, high-end boutique resort … somewhere in the Kaipara region! Perhaps soon there will be more families on different roads, craning their necks so they can be the first ones to shout a plural view-halloo: “There they are!”
Peter Eising for InTreePod info: 021 88 0009