top of page


Inman, South Carolina


Type: Artist Studio

Size: 240sf

Project Text

The Treehouse is a structure built for under $500 at $2 per square foot. Approximately 80% of the building is constructed out of recycled or upcycled wood material. Woodchips and scrap pine blocks were collected from the bi-product waste of a local utility company. The woodchips resulted from the industrial process of boring pine cross-arms for utility lines to run through. This waste wood was used to construct the North and South exterior walls for the pavilion. The woodchips are sandwiched between fiberglass panels to form a wall system that filters light, offering variation as the chips settle over time.  Scrap pine blocks are deployed as bricks and stacked to form two entrance walls to the pavilion.  Other materials used in the project include reclaimed heart-pine wide plank flooring (salvaged from a local barn), yellow pine dimensional lumber—painted and exposed, and painted plywood used as exterior siding.  With an innovative assembly strategy, recycling wood waste provided a unique, inexpensive, yet beautiful building approach.


The pavilion is built upon eight locust tree stumps. The trees where lost during a storm, but the dense, durable wood species encouraged the use of stumps as building piles, lifting the structure off the ground.


​The Treehouse serves as an artist’s studio. The natural light filtering through the northern, woodchip wall provides excellent illumination for art production. The space is divided into three platforms that respond to three functions: entrance, art production, and research/reading/contemplation. The structure is positioned at the threshold of a forest and a field. In one direction a horizontal window frames a green pasture, in the other direction vertical windows frame the forest of trees. 



Seth McDowell

Construction Team:

Seth McDowell, Dylan McDowell, Jean McDowell


Material Donator:

Specialty Wood Products



©mcdowellespinosa architects

bottom of page