The last place you would expect to see any Tubosider product is way up in the trees in the Kielder Water & Forest Park. But that’s where 3.7 metres of our 3 metre diameter corrugated pipe is sitting pretty, and will stay sitting for a long while yet.
Famous for his love of all things creative, architect George Clarke decided in his latest “Amazing Spaces” series on Channel 4 that he wanted to build his ultimate dream of a modern-day treehouse – one that offered a truly livable retreat.
This would be no ordinary treehouse, of course. To start with, he was taken with the idea of using three simple geometric shapes – a circle, a square and a triangle…“just like Playschool”, as he says in the series.
With a budget of £100,000 to design and build and commission it, George and his team set about planning the project. The triangle would become a pyramid shaped room to sleep in, albeit with a roof that could open out to enjoy the spectacular treetop views of the Park.
The square beneath would be a central cube with room for living and eating, while the circle was where Tubosider would come in. Seeking a suitably constructed tube to form an outdoor living and observation area, the production team’s research led them to our door.
So strong and durable is our 2.5mm gauge galvanised steel pipe that it’s normally structured into the huge range of underground water management tanks and culverts functioning across the UK.
But with our products now even being used in central London for architecturally striking gardens, we were delighted to add “treehouse” to the list of applications!
Called the Sky Den, George Clarke’s fantasy retreat, to use his words, took three months to complete. It was constructed with help from William Hardie Designs throughout the second series of his imagination-catching Channel 4 programme.
The result is as beautiful as it is breathtaking. Well known as a connoisseur of creative and quirky constructions, George Clarke was himself stunned by the finished object, describing it as clever, simple, inventive, fun, rustic, and inspiring for people to stay in. “We’ve never designed anything like it before. It’s part tree house, part art installation and can offer a unique experience on a unique site”.
As the main living space, the cube has glass doors opening onto a wide balcony, while inside is impressively versatile, with a functional kitchen and wet room all in a clutter-phobe’s paradise of fold-away furniture (including two single beds) and hidden storage space.
Then the Tubosider tube offers a more open viewpoint to spend any time of day or evening, where you can have a picnic and brew up a cuppa the old-fashioned way over the wood-burning stove, fitted around with wooden seating.
Finally the pyramid is the loft space of your already lofty suite, where you can try out a favourite feature – at the push of a button the whole roof opens up and out to the gold tier Northumberland Dark Skies.
The Sky Den on which George Clarke quite literally lifted the lid in December 2013 is much more than one man’s fantasy, however. Sitting 30 feet up in the Kielder Water & Forest Park, as part of the Calvert Trust it will be used to help people with disabilities to achieve their potential through outdoor activities.
Peter Cockerill, Calvert Trust Chief Executive, said: “This innovative and accessible amazing space goes against the usual expectations of a tree house and realises our vision of people with disabilities sharing in life’s opportunities”.
For more information on the Sky Den and a full gallery of construction photos go to http://skyden.kielder.co.uk/