The tree house restaurant, which is located near Warkworth, north of Auckland, has attracted a lot of attention since its opening. Peter Eising and Lucy Gauntlett of Pacific Environment Architects, the commission was a dream come true – being paid to design and build a tree house was the stuff of childhood fantasies. “The easiest part was coming up with the concept,” says Eising. “The trickiest part was to make it hang there.”
“We were inspired by the hanging ‘organic’ form of the butterfly’s chrysalis. This worked well in creating a memorable image during the day as well as a ‘lantern’ effect at night where the skin becomes transparent and the interior glows. It attaches itself to the tree and becomes part of the tree,” says Eising.
The restaurant’s dining room is inside the tree house, while the kitchen and other facilities are located on the ground. Access to the treehouse is provided by an elevated 60 metre tree-top walkway.
A striking pod-shaped structure built ten metres off the ground and claiming to be New Zealand’s only tree house restaurant has become a hit. While the tree house restaurant is open for a limited season – 9 January to 9 February – an extended opening period is under consideration.