It all started off as an ad campaign to pique the interests of the audience and promote the services of Yellow Pages. However, the end result was nothing short of an architectural marvel. You’ve heard of hotels of all shapes and sizes, and designs; and there are those that have been built by spending an obscene amount of money. But if you’ve ever heard of a hotel that’s perched above the ground, clinging to a 40-meter tall redwood tree, I’ll eat my hat.
The Yellow Tree House has become one of the more popular attractions of New Zealand. With a desire to live up to their slogan, “get anything done,” Yellow Pages decided to have an advertising campaign like no company before them had attempted in the past.
Step one: They commissioned Pacific Environment Architects Ltd. (PEL) to design a treetop restaurant. What architectural company would deny a chance to showcase their talent in this manner for the whole world to see? The concept was drawn from, as they put it, “childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination,” adding that this was the treehouse that everybody “dreamed of as children but could only do as an adult fantasy.”
One look at the Yellow Treehouse and you know that the idea is as magical as it is fantastical. Imagine a chrysalis shaped structure hugging a huge tree near the edge of the woods and overlooking a stream; a structure that isn’t simply beautiful but also functional, housing a tiny, 18-seat café with kitchen and lavatories on the ground. In order to access the pod, you have to walk along a long planked wheel chair accessible walkway that hangs at a low angle.
Step two: Getting someone to run the place. Yellow Pages did the simplest thing possible. They posted an ad for an everyday person who would take on the challenge of running the project and hosting the restaurant. Of the hundreds of applicants, 26 year old Tracy Collins was selected who sourced all her materials and workers from, where else, the Yellow Pages directory!
Since the completion of the project, the Yellow Treehouse has gone on to win several accolades and awards (but obviously!). These include the Gold Award at the New Zealand Institute of Design – BEST Awards, New Zealand Institute of Architects Branch Award, and the Excellence Award from the New Zealand Institute of Building. The cherry on the icing came when the Yellow Treehouse made it to the finals of the World Architecture Awards 2009.
With the successful ad campaign all wrapped up and done with, the restaurant has passed into possession of the land owner (yes, it was built on private land). Lucky chap, I say! The owner plans to use it as an exclusive venue to host parties and weddings. Great idea, especially since he didn’t have to pay a dime for this gorgeous structure and the international publicity.