Student Work, 2015

Espalier Treehouse London Garden Bridge Mindy Ha


A worldwide contest was held to design treehouses for the proposed Garden Bridge in London. My senior studio was divided into teams to partake in the competition for hands-on experience. Remembering the treehouses of childhood, we developed the concept of "Evolving Espalier," a natural structure which would grow over time with its surroundings. My individual contributions are highlighted below.

Industry Environmental Design

Time 1-2 Months Concept to Completion

Team Members Soo-Yeon Han, Jin Young Chang

Evolving Espalier

Growing with the Garden Bridge

Imagine a treehouse. Literally, a tree house.

The term treehouse has become synonymous with a structure that is attached to a tree and expanded to include luxuries of the home. However, think of the treehouse of childhood. It was a simple cube or a platform composed of wood panels wacked together. Or, if one strips it down to the essentials, it really could just be a nice branch that was wide enough for someone to sit on with leaves for covering and shade. It was a hide-a-way to immerse in nature, write in a diary, or people watch like a bird.

The treehouse changed over time. If it was raining, it was not safe to climb but it still provided covering from the raindrops. Filtering sunlight through the canopy casted beautiful patterns across picnic blankets. During autumn, the treehouse was a jumping platform into a pile of leaves. As the tree grew taller, that branch became perfect for attaching a swing. The tree was a marker for those moments in life from etching a heart and initials into its bark to “Can you believe when we first planted this thing it could not even stand on its own?”

Based on the memories of childhood and change of time, Evolving Espalier frames the growth of nature and its visitors. It supports and emphasizes the short-term changes in weather to the long-term changes in the trees. 


Espalier refers to the trellis or the frame on which a plant was trained to grow on one plane as well as the training of plants and the plants themselves. This espalier is one that doesn’t train the plants to grow, but one that is shaped by the plants that grow into it.

Espalier begins as a framework for the trees and plants. Over time, change is celebrated and witnessed as vines interweave the trellis, moss grows on the wood, or the metal ages. Years pass and the trees will become the walls and ceiling as branches grow through the frames. Each unit is unique to itself depending on how the plants decide to grow.