Lift Off For Aviator’s Treehouse

It’s not every day that an architect is asked to design a building that creates the impression of actually flying in an aircraft, but that is the essence of the latest commission delivered by Wakefield firm, The Harris Partnership (THP).

Completed this month, the Blackburn Wing re-imagines the traditional treehouse as an aviation inspired contemporary events venue.

It forms the centrepiece of a £5.5m master planning and restoration scheme project managed by THP for The Bayford Group on the listed Bowcliffe Hall estate near Leeds.  THP’s design team studied a replica of Yorkshire born aviation pioneer Robert Blackburn's Mercury Monoplane and Blackburn Type One designs.

The resulting building comprises a series of arched shaped ribs akin to the simple wing form of the Mercury Monoplane, spaced at regular close intervals to form the basic structural skeleton.  Clad seamlessly around this is a thin lightweight copper skin forming the wing shaped profile.

THP group chairman, Paul Mitchell said;

‘The opportunity to work on a truly original building brief such as this is rare and inspiring.  The project is all about celebrating the achievements of a local Yorkshire hero. To quote our client, "everybody has heard of the Wright brothers, but what about Blackburn?"  Hopefully we have helped to put him firmly on the map.’

The treehouse is constructed of minimalist materials; timber, steel and copper, all designed to weather naturally in the woodland environment.  The Blackburn Wing has a gross internal area of approximately 2000sqft with 1800sqft of surrounding deck and will accommodate up to 70 people for weddings, business meetings and conference events.