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July 1, 2008

Yesterday evening I attended the ribbon ceremony for Toby and Jonny’s treehouse in the West Dean Arboretum. I do believe that this is the coolest treehouse I may ever set eyes on or be privileged to visit as I wish. It fits about 6-7 people comfortably, but has held about a dozen occupants, and is probably strong enough to hold twice that.

The thing about being a graduate student at a craft school is that the students are constantly creating marvelous things.

Here’s the West Dean PR blurb in the latest “What’s On” about it:

On Monday, 30th June, at 4.30pm the tree house will have its official opening. Furniture student Jonny Martin and Making Stringed Musical Instrument student Toby Rzepka have been working on this project since November. Both Jonny and Toby had made tree houses in their respective home towns last summer, and it was a conversation about these which sparked the idea of a tree house in the Arboretum.

During the winter months they drew up plans of the tree house and had numerous meetings with Bob Pulley, Simon Ward and Jim Buckland discussing the practicalities of such a structure and addressing health and safety issues. Practical work finally began on 7th May and since then the tree house has evolved during evenings and weekends, led by Jonny and Toby with help and support from many other students. The wood used to make the tree house is all from the West Dean Estate, kindly donated by Ian Odin. Other people who do not study at, or work for the College, have also helped, namely Steve Corbit. Steve works with experimental buildings, such as
the grid-shell building at the Weald and Downland museum. He played an important part in the construction, acting as a structural engineer – passing on valuable advice and knowledge to the students.

Jonny is extremely pleased with the finished result; the tree house is now part of the West Dean community and something that future students and visitors can use and enjoy for years to come.

The tree house is four metres in diameter and comfortably seats seven people. Part of the proposal was that it was to be ‘lost in the trees’, something that one stumbles upon when walking through the arboretum. However, if you follow the yellow ribbons on Monday you will be guided to where it sits. The opening is from 4.30 onwards, so if you’re here, why not take a wander?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Carly permalink
    July 1, 2008 7:11 pm

    So cool! All your pictures are gorgeous! I’m glad you’re having a little bit of a break before jumping back into your MA. By the way, I got my acceptance letter in the mail last week! So I guess I’ll be able to explore the tree house for myself pretty soon! I’m excited!

  2. zstitches permalink
    July 1, 2008 9:31 pm

    So very very cool.

    I’m amused by the sentence in the announcement that goes “Other people helped . . . namely, Steve Corbin.” Steve Corbin is other people I guess. (They probably meant, “One of whom was Steve Corbin.”) (Just call me the Nitpicker.)

  3. July 2, 2008 1:46 am


    I want one.

    Actually a neighbor made such a thing – much smaller, but the same thing-ish. Can be done.

  4. Robby permalink
    July 3, 2008 3:27 am

    Would that all the world were crafty. But not subtle. :)~

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