Branching Out

Different materials and traditional and modern techniques were carefully combined for optimal effect in House Paarman Treehouse.

The combination of materials and techniques used for House Paarman Treehouse allowed  for the fusion of modern manufacturing technology with traditional handcraft, and  both were used to their full potential. The primary supporting elements are made from Corten steel and form a complex interdependent framework with great economy of structure. Three different types of timber – spruce, western red cedar and oak – were chosen based on their specific advantages for their respective applications. These were carefully crafted – sometimes in complex three-dimensional shapes – and delicately joined to the steel structure with hand-turned  brass connectors.

After an extensive process of iterative design by prototyping, the somewhat primal act of casting metal, the seemingly rough but precise act of industrial assembly, and the final caress by the human hand are combined in a carefully considered sequence of manufacturing. While any number of details could  have been selected for the purposes of this article, it was felt that the assembly of the floor supports and the sensuously curving staircase typified the approach described above.

From the crafts of design and making, to the crafting of relationships between all parties involved in the project, this small dwelling is a powerful reminder of the importance of the values of innovation, care and time.

As Richard Sennet notes in his book The Craftsman (2008: 9): “Craftsmanship names an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake.”

Project information

  • Architects and Interior Architects: Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design
  • Structural Engineers: Henry Fagan and Partners
  • Quantity Surveyors: DA Quantity Surveyors
  • Landscape Design: Mary Maurel Gardens
  • Contractor: Link Engineering and Theunis Naude
Image: House Paarman Treehouse ©Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design
Image: House Paarman Treehouse ©Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design

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