Andreas Wenning Designs the Treetop Getaways You Always Dreamed of

Remember that feeling you got as a kid, crawling into your pillow fort, or clambering into your favourite tree? Secret, safe, and provided for, looking out onto a passing world? Baumraum is the studio bringing precisely this art of the ‘special place’, of which we are all masters when children, into the adult world. Like the rest of Baumraum’s output, this lookout platform project “Belvedere Bollenhagen” is a synthesis of adult engineering and a childlike fascination with the hidden.

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Andreas Wenning, founder of Bauraum, had always wanted to build his own treehouse; once he got the opportunity he found that a gap in the market called, and founded the studio in 2003. He has been working on inspired spaces and treetop structures ever since. A cabinet maker by training, Andreas has studied architecture, and works alongside a team with expertise in interior design, structural engineering, and all things arboreal. What’s the attraction, Andreas?

“To be close to nature, and enter your very own private space that brings you close to yourself. The combination between a natural environment and a built structure gives a very interesting tension”.

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Andreas is a canny businessman, and recognises that he’s getting into his stride in the treehouse and hideaway market just as ‘nature getaways’ and the desire for a more symbiotic relationship with nature are starting to become fashionable. We get the specifics on the fascinating Belvedere Bollenhagen lookout from the man himself…

The Plus: What was the brief you were given for this project? And how did you realize it?
Andreas Wenning:
The customer initially wanted a tree house. Then it made more sense to plan a lookout. We also wanted in particular to experience the space at the edge of the trees.

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TP: What materials and tools did you use, and why?
AW:
Galvanized steel and larch wood. We basically use either wood which is naturally very strong and resistant like larch, oak, and cedar, or heat-treated/coated wood. For the designing process we use computers software like Archicad and 3ds Max. For the building process and mounting…carpentry tools!

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TP: What are some of the difficulties with working among the trees?
AW:
The geometry of trees, roots and growth. The trees must be able to move freely in storms.

TP: What do you hope your buildings inspire in people?
AW:
We would like to express the dialogue between the natural environment and architecture. New design with strong expression, in combination with the wonderful living organism: the tree.

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TP: Did you have a tree house as a kid?
AW:
I didn’t have a tree house when I was a child, but I like trees and small experimental spaces. I build earth houses and other hideaways.

TP: Could you talk us through the features of the lookout?
AW:
People can enjoy the view on different levels with this tower. They can engage with the crowns of the tree, and make a picnic on the two large platforms of the tower.

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TP: How tall is the building?
AW:
About 13 metres high.

TP: How do people get up to the top?
AW:
Many stairs!

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TP: How long did the project take to finish?
AW:
One year in planning, 1/2 year in building.

TP: What measures did you have to take to preserve the wood?
AW:
I had to keep a good distance from the roots.

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TP: If you could design a treehouse anywhere and for anyone, what would you chose?
AW:
For someone who has some big redwood-trees in California, or for an Arabian King with good taste and lots of money. Or I would like to build something in a tropical area, in the jungle.

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Building Process:
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