A tree house by Østensjøvannet

Thibaut Devulder

The observation tower of the “tree house”, poking over the highest terrace of the garden

Some photos of the landscaping project we completed two years ago close to Østensjø, a natural reserve in Oslo.

The central piece of this project was a staircase that dovetailed the different exterior spaces around a private house, overlooking the lake from a steep rock face. Spiralling among the rocks covered with lush vegetation, this timber stair also doubles as an observation tower and secret hiding “tree house” for the children.

Why a staircase, when you can have a treehouse?

Thibaut Devulder

A client have just sent us some photos of the finished staircase we have designed for her house.

We designed this little structure to provide access from the upper terraces of the house down to the garden space. Since the garden was also a prime spot for children play, we designed the staircase wrapped around a “treehouse”, in which the children can hide and play, or take a fun shortcut climb back home!

Portfolio project
Between a house and a cliff

Thibaut Devulder
The staircase/treehouse, dovetailing the different outdoor spaces, as seen from the garden entrance

The staircase/treehouse, dovetailing the different outdoor spaces, as seen from the garden entrance

For this small landscaping project, we were approached by our clients who have just bought and refurbished a house overlooking Østensjø, a large lake on the outskirts of Oslo.

Located on an elevated spot, the house and its west terraces enjoyed wonderful open views to the neighbouring lake (Østensjø). As a counterpoint, the rest of the outdoor spaces were tucked on a very tight site, terraced over three different levels and have been neglected in the recent years. A 8-metre high cliff backed the property to the east, overgrown with wild vines and bergenias, creating a lush cascade of vegetation and rocks.

Our client asked us to outline a strategy for making the best use of the tight exterior spaces, spread over three terraces, and organise them so that both adult activities and children play could blend together harmoniously.

The “cliff” of vegetation at the back of the property, with its lush vegetation cascading down the rocks.

The “cliff” of vegetation at the back of the property, with its lush vegetation cascading down the rocks.

Carefully analysing the existing opportunities offered by this intricate space, we designed a string of private and social spaces around the house, each with its unique feeling — from serene and secluded to social and vibrant— articulated by a central winding stair that doubled as a playful “tree house”.

We will be following up the work on site with our clients, impatiently awaiting the children’s feedback on their new playhouse! In the meantime, here are a few of drawings from our design process.