Phillip Johnson Landscapes
Decibel Architecture’s proposition for The Lighthouse was not to build a treehouse with one particular nature, style or function. Rather, it was to propose a hybrid. A space that is incredible, outrageously surprising and supremely flexible. A space that enables every imaginable function. That creates previously unimaginable ones. That can be accessed by all or by few; that is both restful or exciting. That can be functional when occupied, and functional when not. That transforms Kids into Kings, and Kings into Kids.
A treehouse is an interesting thing to contemplate – it is a place set between children and adults – It is a place of play – a fantasy land mini castle set up in the trees creating a feeling of release, of wonder, of hidden and joyful play.
Although unable to be made without a minimum of technical skill and some minor adult assistance, the treehouse commands a powerful statement of growth- of claiming a place in the world from which to survey all below.
The LightHouse is an evolution of the Waratah Studio, a private retreat that was the focal point of the Australian Garden at the prestigious 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. Exploring synergies between solidly geometric and fluidly organic forms, the Waratah Studio embodies the blossoming flower set within a natural landscape.
As visitors move within the space, when standing front-on inside the structure looking over the garden, in a display of geometric perfection, all vision of the structure’s timber petals disappear entirely. Step one foot to the right or left, and the petals reappear to remind the voyeur where they are once more.
Both the LightHouse and the Waratah Studio form a complementary relationship with one another. The Waratah Studio, with its wooden petals and set amongst an enchanting natural landscape, is representative of the garden, an organic beauty. The Lighthouse, suspended in the air, and manifesting the colours of the visible spectrum on crystalline like fins, embodies the qualities of the sky.
The LightHouse transcends one of the key limitations so often woven into the tree house dilemma – access. Visitors are able to walk at grade into the LightHouse – to enter a garden pavilion set for dinner at a round table for 10. From here, the LightHouse effortlessly traverses to the heights of the treetops, before descending again into the garden – coming to rest atop a pool, where visitors can step out lightly again.
Visitors are able to ascend and descend physically on a continuously adapting stair – a suspension bridge egress. This path is also safe, child friendly climbing path to gain access to the heights without adult supervision, and terminates at the ground with a slide for children and adults alike.