Yellow Tree House, New Zealand


The Yellow Tree House is built around a redwood tree, which is over 40m high and has a 1.7m diameter at its base, located north of Auckland, New Zealand. Yellow Tree House is designed by Pacific Environment Architects and Yellow Pages.

The structure is made of plantation poplar slats and used extensive natural lighting throughout. The tree house restaurant was built as a marketing promotion for New Zealand Yellow Pages.

Yellow Pages advertising campaign

Yellow Pages introduced an ambitious advertising campaign to demonstrate to people that no matter what the project it is, yellow pages can help in completing it. This project is part of a large-scale marketing effort by Yellow Pages to promote its services. Professional accordion player Tracey Collins got the opportunity to put the tree house restaurant into business through Yellow Pages. The project began on 22 October 2008.

"The tree house design is an organic oval form wrapped around the trunk."

The captivating pod-shaped structure was open to the public from 9 January to 9 February 2009 and guests were hosted by Tracey Collins.

Yellow Tree House design concept

The concept of building a tree house on a redwood tree was quite challenging and required a range of consultants to get resources and building consent, and to get construction underway in the limited time of four months.

The design is an organic oval form wrapped around the trunk and structurally tied up top and bottom, with a circular arrangement, split apart on the axis with a raised floor portion. The timber binding forms basis of the main structure. Glue-laminated plantation poplar pine has been used for the slats.

It is around 10m wide and over 12m high with seating 10m off the ground. The kitchen and toilets are on the ground. It has the capacity to occupy 18 people with all the comforts such as bar, structural soundness, and unobstructed views into the valley.

Natural approach

The tree house resembles imaginative childhood dreams, playtime and fairy tales. The tree house is inspired by various forms in nature – the chrysalis protecting the emerging butterfly. Access to the tree house is through a 60m treetop walkway – an adventure for the customer. Acrylic sheeting makes the tree house water resistant.

"The Yellow Tree House is built around a redwood tree."

Yellow marketing director Kellie Nathan says: "The advertising campaign set out to surprise people and help them see Yellow in a different light. We wanted to prove that just about any mission could be completed using Yellow – the book, online or mobile. And I think we’ve done that."

Project support

PEL (Pacific Environment Limited) provided assistance to project managers such as The Building Intelligence Group –Gareth Skirrow, Blair Wolfgram, Joe Holden; Colenso BBDO and Yellow in selecting the enormous redwood tree on which the tree house can be built.

NZ strong and Citywide Construction Ltd were the building contractors. Catering services were provided by Dawsons. Engineers involved in the project were Holmes Consulting.