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The DIY SkySphere Is Part Treehouse, Part Space Ship

A New Zealander with 3,000 hours on his hands built this smartphone-controlled shelter in the sky. It comes with a gorgeous view.

If you never had a treehouse as a kid, then prepare yourself for a fit of jealousy. Jono Williams has built the best treehouse ever, only instead of wood it uses $50,000-worth of imported Chinese steel and other materials, and instead of a tree, it sits atop a 10-meter steel pole.

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When it’s finished, Williams’s SkySphere will be solar-powered and fully controlled via smartphone. Right now, the “treehouse” already has everything you might need–except a bathroom. It also follows the one golden rule of treehouse construction: Williams built it himself.

The SkySphere is exactly what it sounds like–a spherical room with a 360-degree view of the sky. It’s built on the crest of a hill in New Zealand, with two-meter high panoramic windows. Williams, a plastics engineer and graphic designer, spent 3,000 hours building the tower.

You or I might be happy to sit up on the deck and enjoy the view, but Williams has turned the SkySphere into a sci-fi playground. The huge bed and custom-built seating are joined by a wireless sound system, a Miracast projector, colored LED mood lighting, and a rooftop “starview” platform. But that’s not the crazy part. The SkySphere’s functions are all controlled by a custom smartphone app, including a robot beer dispenser inside the couch and a powered door, unlocked by a fingerprint.

Given the interest Williams has received in SkySphere, it seems that a lot of people are willing to break the one golden rule of treehouse construction: build it yourself. “I had no idea so many people would want one,” he says. “I built the SkySphere for my own hangout without the intention of selling.”

Most telling is the FAQ, which includes the question “Could it have a lift?” That sounds like just the kind of question you’d get from somebody unwilling to build their own treehouse. The answer, by the way, is “yes,” but William’s says that he doesn’t mind the ladder.

That said, the lack of any plumbing, plus that long climb down and then back up again, makes the combination of a beer fridge and a sleepover seem a little less appealing. Maybe Williams’s next addition could be a bucket under the bed?

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About the author

Previously found writing at Wired.com, Cult of Mac and Straight No filter.

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