Crystal River Tree HouseJul 17 2012 ·
“In this modern age, architects have become focused on efficiency in every aspect of a building’s design. So, this project provided a unique opportunity to design a structure whose sole purpose is enlightening the spirit,” says architect Steve Novy. Commissioned by Branden Cohen and Deva Shantay of True Nature Healing Arts, the Crystal River Treehouse is the antithesis of efficiency. It was designed for fun, frivolity and fantasy. It emerged as the folly of loving parents, providing the ultimate playhouse for their children. Even as adults, it speaks to us. In it, we see the importance of beauty in our constructed world.
It was designed as a collaborative effort between Green Line Architects’ principal, Steven A. Novy, AIA; and David Rsamussen of www.drdcustomfurniture.com/David Rasmussen Design. Rasmussen helped with the design, and he was also the builder. “We always want the architect and builder to work together on the design, and in this case it was a perfect team approach,” said Novy. He and Rasmussen sketched the design out by hand first, then put it into their CAD software to work out some of the trickier details, such as the floating miter joints of the rafters between the dormers and the main roof. “The drawings were just starting point. I knew that the finishing touches would come as I selected and placed each piece of wood.” says Rasmussen.
“David truly breathed the life into this design, “said Novy. “His masterful wood joinery, paired with his expert knowledge of natural finishes made it all work. He even designed and built the front door and interior lighting fixtures.”
Ironically, after only a few years of the tree house seeing active playtime, it has been disassembled and moved to the site of Cohen’s new home. But the new home site does not have tall, mature trees, so to fit into this new context, it will stand somewhat lower on the landscape. Novy says he doesn’t mind, “I’m pleased that this structure will stay with Branden and his family. It reminds me that everything we design or build should be done with its next purpose in mind, and that a good design is one that is adaptable.”