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Tree House

This Tree house design by London-based 6a Architects is a timber-clad, curving extension to an existing 1830’s cottage. The architects used reclaimed timber to match the facades with the tree’s material quality and blend the house into the surrounding garden.

Tree-House-By-6a-Architects-02-Johan-Dehlin-759x506 Tree House / 6a Architects

© Johan Dehlin

This garden extension allows the client, who has become confined to a wheelchair, to continue living in the family house by providing ramp access to both the existing ground floor levels and to a new bedroom in the garden. The whole building is constructed in timber including timber sleeper pad foundations to demonstrate that it could in the future be easily removed to restore the garden to its full size as a Planning requirement.

Tree-House-By-6a-Architects-04-Johan-Dehlin-759x948 Tree House / 6a Architects

© Johan Dehlin

Design Features:

  • This sensitive and subtle little building elegantly extends a Grade II listed house, so its occupant, who has become increasingly immobile and wheelchair bound, can live independently in her home as an integral member of her family, with her husband and their daughters; and can continue actively to enjoy her garden.
  • This new single storey extension makes all the public rooms and principal bedroom accessible and effectively re-orientates the focus of the house. A ramp within the frame of the veranda connects the two ground floor levels, providing access between the kitchen and living room. Within the new addition.
Tree-House-By-6a-Architects-05-Johan-Dehlin-759x948 Tree House / 6a Architects

© Johan Dehlin

  • A ramp curves around the tree in the garden, down to a new bedroom and a washroom. The former has the quality of a delightful and very private summer house, which opens up onto a terrace which overlooks the garden and back to and through the original house.
  • The construction is of sustainably sourced softwood, with substantial insulation and double-glazed windows. External cladding is reclaimed Jarrah skimmings, recut and fitted in-situ. Heating is under floor and ventilation is natural.
Tree-House-By-6a-Architects-06-John-Perkins-Projects-759x720 Tree House / 6a Architects

© John Perkins Projects

This is a delightful building which has transformed this home, not only in making it accessible but also in embedding it in the garden, with a very simple and beautiful aesthetic.

Tree-House-By-6a-Architects-07-Johan-Dehlin-799x1200 Tree House / 6a Architects

© Johan Dehlin

6a Architects:

The Tree House was developed for the mother of a busy family who in finding herself reliant on a wheelchair was also increasingly confined to a single room. Her home is a pair of small grade II listed 1830’s brick weavers cottages, joined together in the 1970’s, and nestled within a luxuriantly overgrown and flower-filled garden. The ground floor rooms of the two cottages are on different levels and both a half storey above the surrounding gardens.

Tree-House-By-6a-Architects-08-Johan-Dehlin-799x1200 Tree House / 6a Architects

© Johan Dehlin

The Tree House winds down around the trees, cinching itself in to get around the central sumac tree and breathing out again to accommodate a generous bedroom and bathroom below a eucalyptus. The bedroom faces onto a deck into the garden and looks back to the house where existing concrete columns have been reused to support a new timber-framed glazed verandah which ramps between the two original ground floor rooms. The kitchen, people moving through the house and even the street beyond are all glimpsed from the bedroom, the whole house reoriented around the garden.

Tree-House-By-6a-Architects-12-Johan-Dehlin-759x506 Tree House / 6a Architects

© Johan Dehlin

The new construction is reversible, keeping its footprint light and ensuring listed building consent. It is timber framed on timber foundations and clad in reclaimed Jarrah skimmings. Internally it is simply detailed white interior that forms a softly textured backdrop to the many framed views of trees. All ground floor rooms and the garden are fully wheelchair accessible, absorbing the difference between the cottages and its new rooms. Rose bushes and jasmine climb back over the south facing elevation of the tree house, as it once did to the south facing garden fence.

Tree-House-By-6a-Architects-14-Johan-Dehlin-759x948 Tree House / 6a Architects

© Johan Dehlin

Project Data:

Project name: Tree House
Location: Jubilee St, London, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51.519204, -0.052651

  • Type By Characteristic: Tree House, Renovation / Expansion / Extension : House, Green & Sustainable House
  • Type By Site: City House
  • Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Wooden House

Project Area: 57 sqm (613.5 sq.ft)
Status: Built
Completion: March 2013


  • 2014 – Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards – RIBA London Awards – Category: Small Projects
  • 2014 – Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards – RIBA London Special Award

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Rowan Moore
Architects: 6a Architects – Rapier House, 40 Lamb’s Conduit St, London WC1N 3LJ, United Kingdom
Project Team:

  • Stephanie Macdonald, Tom Emerson, John Ross, Alice Colverd, Cécile David

Contractor: John Perkins Projects Ltd
Structural Engineer: Price & Myers

  • Building Control: MLM
  • Garden Design: Dan Pearson Studio / Mark Cummings Garden Designs


  • Exterior Cladding: Ashwell Recycled Timber Products
  • Blinds: Ace Contracts (London) Ltd
  • Lighting: Izé (Veranda : David Kohn lights)

Text Description: © Courtesy of 6a Architects, Price & Myers, RIBA Awards
Images: © 6a Architects, Johan Dehlin, John Perkins Projects

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Tree House / 6a Architects
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