In September 2008,the Yellow Pages Group challenged Aucklander Tracey Collins to build a restaurant up a tree, using nothing else but contacts from Yellow’s website, mobile application and book ,to prove that Yellow is still the best way to get things done.
The consumers and advertisers were putting under questioning the need for the old yellow book in the post-Google age. Their challenge was to do something major to make New Zealanders reconsider Yellow as a relevant,useful, contemporary brand.
Pacific Environments NZ Ltd, Architects goal was to create a building that captured people’s imagination,get them intrigued and still was within the ‘realms of reality’. They have achieved that by coming with a chrysalis inspired ‘pod-form’ wrapped around the trunk of a tree, capable of supporting 30 diners, including access for the disabled, fire compliance, while looking after the living tree., all during a 3 month time limit.
The construction is almost 10m wide and over 12m high, with the split-level floor sitting 10m off the ground.The main structure is formed out of timber trusses. The curved fins are glue-laminated pine, plantation poplar has of course been used for the slats and redwood again from the site used in the walkway balustrade.
An arborist was brought in to give advice on the best ways of conserving the tree’s health and longevity.Therefore, they chose a circular plan form which was split along its axes.A natural opening to enter from one side along with a balcony from the other was thus formed. The access is through a 60 meters long treetop walkway made from Redwood found on site and is wheelchair compliant. The facilities remained on the ground level, leaving the treehouse floor free for an unique dining experience.
The restaurant managed to open on time in mid December 2008 and respected the allocated budget. Sustainability, a major issue was achieved through the selection of materials, natural energy sources, natural ventilation and lighting and a minimal footprint.
The design, as expected, captured people’s imagination, resulting in international recognition, enquiries and requests for images. The dining experience in a treetop proved to be memorable, one of a kind and exciting, so the restaurant was quick to completely book out. Now, it is prepared to be used by the plantation owner as a private venue for different functions.
We consider this challenge as an interesting approach to a construction.And the result product proved to be even more exciting and intriguing then the process of creating it, an organic inspired shape that remains as a light in the darkness the modern era brings throughout its constant blurry changes and globalization.