We'd like to formally nominate architect Rafael Santa Ana for Dad of the Year. Our submission? These photos of the incredible modern treehouse he built in his family's North Vancouver backyard.

Santa Ana, principal of Rafael Santa Ana Architect Workshop, started building the play structure before renovations had even begun on the main house. "I wanted to make sure it would be done while they were still the right age to enjoy it," says the architect.

modernist treehouse

Doing things in this order may have even given Santa Ana an opportunity to slyly prototype. “I’m not going to say the treehouse dictated the aesthetic, but if you think about it, there’s a bit of an echo,” he laughs. “It’s almost like a first draft of the house.” 

Constructed around the tree, a unique spinning post supports the structure, intended to shift as the tree grows and moves the house higher over time.

But as impressive as the engineering of this little backyard shack is, the modern asymmetrical design is ultimately the selling point — we didn't realize how much we wanted a West Coast Modern treehouse in our lives until we saw it.

modern treehouse design

Inside, the slats are painted in a pastel rainbow, creating a cheery contrast to the North Shore greenery visible from the structure's little corner windows (which are placed to mirror those on the family house).

Of course, as impressive as this treetop hideaway is, the actual home Santa Ana designed us even more enviable. Check out the whole renovation — complete with two-storey bookshelf! — right here. 

Photos by Ema Peter.