In 1993 a tree house was built in Harajuku. Now 22 years and over 120 tree houses later Takashi Kobayashi and his company Tree House People are masters at their craft.
Kobayashi is a self taught architect, designer, and builder. Yet his tree houses are spectacular displays of how design and nature seamlessly integrate when constant attention and consideration is given to surroundings and environment.
Striving to source local materials, along with careful observation of tree growth and environmental patterns Kobayashi engineers the tree houses with amazing attention to detail.
Kobayashi’s design process is like that of an artist. It starts with him spending time at the location of the proposed project, generally a few days. At this stage he is making observations of the tree, the landscape and environment. He wants the finished project to harmonize with the surrounding landscape as well as the tree.
From there the design and planning starts, despite the main blueprint already being in Kobayashi’s mind. During construction flexibility and improvisation are key due to unforeseen characteristics of the project site. From start to finish the project is done in less than half a year.
Professional surfer Rob Machado visited Kobayashi after the great tsunami of 2011 and documented Kobayashi at work. Part of the series “Through the Lens” you can see his approach to a project.
THROUGH THE LENS with Rob Machado.
Kobayashi’s company Tree House People is on the web here!