Meet the Treehouse Architectural Assistant

Working for Blue Forest, Architectural Assistant Matt Riley is able to combine his passion for sustainable design and love for the great outdoors into making seemingly impossible treehouses a reality.

Q: Designing/building treehouses sounds like an incredible vocation, but it’s probably not something you start out studying for. How did you get into the industry? (And/or – did you ever think you would be a treehouse designer?)

It’s a job I dreamed of doing yet didn’t realise existed until I discovered the vacancy at Blue Forest. Now I get to bridge my passion for sustainable design and the great outdoors.

Q: What is your favourite part of the design process?

When we sit together as a design team and brain-storm ideas. Everyone has strengths in different areas and their own creative ideas, so by combining them all we get really good design concepts from the get go.

Q: I am sure you’re given all kinds of briefs and fantastical requests. Are there ever any projects that have you thinking: “It’s impossible, we’ll never manage that!”?

Due to the nature of building in and amongst living trees we are constantly presented with design constraints, but we always find a way to make things possible.

Q: Are there any projects you are particularly proud of?

There’s one that’s currently being constructed which has some really cool features including a spiral staircase in a turret hidden behind a revolving bookshelf, and a huge stainless steel slide accessed through a Narnia style wardrobe. It’s been a lot of fun to work on.

Q: What would your dream treehouse look like?

Very rustic and shack-like, built using reclaimed materials. I’d love a series of them high up in the trees connected by rope bridges and hidden tunnels within.

Q: Complete the sentence: “Every treehouse should have a ….?”

…childhood dream fulfilled.

Q: Excluding the ones you’ve worked on, do you have a favourite treehouse?

I like the work of Takashi Kobayashi as it’s very organic and contextual.

Takashi Kobayashi created the “Sendai Treehouse” classroom following the devastating Japanese tsunami of 2011.

Q: Are treehouses the new yachts?

Like yachts, treehouses allow escapism and to be at one with nature so in many respects yes.