Chiara’s Treehouse unveiledBambu Indah - June 29, 2021
John and I wanted to share with you our latest addition to Bambu Indah: The Treehouse. The seed was planted for this project in 2010 when Chiara and John created a design for a treehouse that spanned a coconut and Ulin tree, like a basket-woven submarine caught in tree branches overlooking the valley.
Last year, we began transforming the treehouse, loved by children and Bambu Indah guests alike, into a project unlike any we had embarked on before. I’ll tell you that we didn’t know exactly what we were in for, and it couldn’t have been done any other way.
Chiara worked with an architect to conceive of the initial footprint, orientation and feel of the place. She wanted it to feel like a nest, where you could never reach the true edge so the floors had to be curving. Suspended between two trees, the treehouse called for a sense of strength and stability. Taking the semester off from school, she put herself to work, supervising the completion of the project as well as designing the skylights, lighting and light fixtures, and problem solving the many obstacles that presented themselves along the way.
Fashioning the roof was a challenge that our good friend Neil Thomas helped us to overcome. It was a feat of engineering and some very brave bamboo carpenters to suspend the roof with wire cables on many different branches of the two trees. It needed to float over the nest, protect our guests from rain, and be strong and lightweight. The rafters are a bamboo gridshell covered with bedeg and insulated copper shingles.
Getting up to the treehouse was another exciting obstacle. We thought it would detract from the specialness to build a hard scape spiral staircase, so with the help of a brilliant welder the stairs were suspended by wires wrapped around a neighboring tree.
Elora and the IBUKU team filled the empty nests with the comforts of air-conditioned bed pods, a wardrobe, and loft, lovingly making the treehouse into a cozy place to spend all day, gazing out at the almost 180° unobstructed view.