Balnacra Arts by Vicky Stonebridge

The TV treehouse challenge- design reveal

Remember back HERE I blogged about the visit from the SKY! TV production company. They are working with the community to make a tree house for a community venue. On the 6th August when I was away running workshops at Belladrum festival, a party of local volunteers were busy clearing the site and access to the river bank where the tree house will be built.

Yesterday the film crew spent the day getting bits and bobs or interview and footage with our main spokesperson and the Presenter Charlie Luxton. Then in the evening members of the community gathered at one of the local pubs where the architect designs were to be revealed. Its good to see that everytime the film crew come up more local people are getting involved, these are not all from one committee or group either but representing a wide range of interests and ages.

so on a chilly highland summer evening with a few midges, once it got dark enough, a presentation was projected onto the outside wall of the Strathcarron hotel and Charlie talked us through the design process. They first showed my hasty coloured sketch which took everyone’s ideas on board ( I really really should have had my name and website in capital letters across the thing! ).


 my sketch.

local heroes, and Rich advertising Hi-Ex!

The designers looked at the site, our ideas about a traditional roundhouse with lots of light, they also looked at yurts and other round structures and came up with…… ah ha!  I imagine i’d be in trouble if i revealed the reveal. So you will have to wait.
The design has to be something that will last, can be built in 4 days & come within budget. Designers Charlie & Alex had put a lot of thought into the way the space would be used, site security, and working with the gorgeous riverside view.  Charlie had to run through the unscripted presentation three times so the cameras could get all the angles, such is the nature of television, the ooo’s and ahhh’s were getting a little hammy towards the end ! He took a few questions, our initial concerns are the larch needles building up on the roof …and another feature. The longevity and practicality of this other feature, water drainage from the roof. Someone raised the point that the river bed had been moved when the road was built some 150 years ago and what if it moved back again, but seasonal flooding is why we put the design on stilts in the first place.

No spoilers here – you had to be there!
As the cameras moved off to do some interviews with a couple of individuals, a couple of folks voiced their concerns that the roof pitch simply wouldn’t work in our wet climate. So it turns out when these TV programmes have drama moments, they are not necessarily contrived!  Once the drainage ideas, design principals and building materials involved were explained to us by Charlie I felt reassured. We have explained from the outset the difficulties of our climate here, so they are certainly taking this on board. I think the general consensus was very impressed with the design. Hopefully no-one will be too put out by the change in roof design. the conical shape we’d initially proposed simply cannot be built in the time frame with the materials available. I’m prepared to trust the architects on this one.


 and yes I am well aware that i talk too fast and wave my arms about too much when giving talks/ interviews etc!  I think I managed to not do the looking off & up the right thing this time- hopefully.


ooo look > a tiny near spoiler!
Next stage is the actual build in 2/ 3 weeks time, where it will be complete maddness !  Looking forward to it & meeting the team again as they are all really enthusiastic and know their stuff. 

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This entry was posted on August 10, 2011 by in Blog and tagged , , , , .

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