Stacy and James Keenan had planned a treehouse near their main residence—James fondly remembered one from his childhood—but when no suitable tree could be found on the property, Blackwell proposed the tower among the trees instead. The eighty-foot-tall tower is built of creek and river stones, oak, and steel. Although the structure was approved by the city’s planning commission, when the structural steel frame for this unusual house rose twenty feet above the tree line of the surrounding woods, complaints began to arrive from passing motorists and landowners within visible range. The entrance, vertical courtyard, and open steel staircase comprise the first two levels. The third level is a mechanical equipment space, with a compact kitchen, dining area, and a dumbwaiter for transporting goods. The lavatory/shower area is on the fourth level. From that level, a wooden stairway gives access to the light-filled all-purpose fifth-level space surrounded by four walls of glass. The top floor—the sixth—is openroofed, a “skycourt.” Its textured walls are pierced with openings, sized to guide the view. The base of the tower is primarily sheathed in a textured screen of vertical white-oak fins reflecting the wooded site from which the tower rises and suggesting the rough bark of the surrounding trees. A small portion of the base is clad in metal siding, and as the tower rises, the proportions of wood and metal shift until the TowerHouse is encased solely in white metal.
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