A treehouse is a structure built around or in between the trunk or branches of one or more mature trees above the ground. While it has been said that archaic humans, inspired by apes and alike, may have lived in treehouses, valid evidence of traditional treehouses was found among indigenous people. It is suggested that the majority of Korowai clans from the Papuan tribe dwell in tree houses. Nowadays, treehouses have been introduced to modern societies. Popular since the 1990’s among both children and adults, modern tree houses have evolved from recreational playhouses for families in backyards to commercial work and hospitality spaces involving architects and designers. Below are 7 out-of-the-world modern tree house architecture around the world.
Any list of tree houses that doesn’t mention this striking Tham & Videgård Arkitekter –designed work of art isn’t worth reading. Situated near the small village of Harads in the far north of Sweden, this tree hotel was built with a lightweight aluminium structure around a single pine tree trunk that supports the 4x4x4 metre mirror box. Clad in reflective glass, the entirety of the interior is made of plywood coated with birch. Visitiors may have a hard time finding the stealthy cube. Being one of the six designs of Treehotel’s cluster of modern luxurious treehouses, this small hut for two people is the true bridge between nature and modern architecture.
The 7th Room
Still in the Treehotel site near the Lule River of Harads, Sweden, this rentable 75 sqm living space by Snøhetta is a perfect destination for the simple minds. Designed to accommodate five people, the 7thRoom is furnished with two double beds, a bed sofa, toilets, a shower-equipped bathroom, and a lounge. There is an additional patio with safety nets for the guests to stargaze on at midnight. Outside, a black staircase is built for the way in to the 10 metre tall above the ground shelter covered with ancient Japanese style-inspired black exterior.
The Woodsman’s Treehouse
Located in the countryside of West Dorset, UK, the Woodsman’s Treehouse is a lavish escape in the middle of the wilderness. Standing two floors supported by a veteran oak tree, this birthchild of both Brownlie Ernest and Marks’ Keith Brownlie and the famous Guy Mallinson provides 5-star hotel amenities. King-sized bed, sauna, double-ended copper bath, wood burner, open-air tree-shower, stainless steel slide for a playful exit, leather club chairs, rotating fireplace, you name it. Encased with ranges of assorted timber façades such as cleft sweet chestnut log stacks, oak laths, and hand cleft oak shingles, this is a grand combination of stylish interiors and sustainable wood craftsmanship.
Far across the Pacific Ocean, architectural designer Anthony Gibbon exploited the principles of biomimicry to construct a geometric form in the middle of the organic forest. Standing proudly in the Catskill Forest Preserve near Woodstock, NY, Gibbon’s Inhibit tree house exhibits bright, new cedarwood on the exterior. On a certain side, large-paned windows can be seen replacing the FSC-certified local timber walls. Above the kitchen is a mezzanine that helps maximize the calming rural views offered from the structure’s vantage point.
ZYJ Tree House World
Deep in the forests of Qiyun Mountain, Huangshan, China is the ZYJ Tree House World designed by a band of architects led by Ziye Zhu. Built as a campsite-style resort villa, the steel-wood mixed structure combines architectural form with children’s interests, resulting in the UFO-themed design.
They didn’t stop at that. A UFO lighting entrance, star-shaped trampoline, and a flying saucer roasting table are designed to boost an out-of-the-world space vibe. View of the awe-inspiring vistas can be seen through the large-angle floor-to-ceiling glass window. A circle porch and the specially-designed deep eaves were added to deal with the rainy climate.
Tree Top Studio
Far below the equator on the outskirts of Adelaide sits this two-level structure designed—and constructed by Australian architect Max Pritchard. Built to function as a studio, the circular tower is accessed through a raised timber decked bridge. A curved timber decked path leads back to the main house. From outside, it looks like an elevated steel and glasshouse with golden plywood sheeting. The joints are covered with hardwood planks supported by the timber framework of vertical wall posts.
Inside, mixes of pine plywood and hardwood battens can be found here and there, including the customised round table. Everything screams natural in this studio, even the internal heating and cooling that are provided by the coastal vicinity during the summer and the low winter sun during winter.
Yellow Treehouse Restaurant
On a site north of Auckland, a beautiful nature-inspired tree house float 10 metres off the ground enfolding an enormous Redwood tree measuring over 40 metres high and 1.7 metres in diameter at the base. From the outside, the restaurant could be perceived as anything—imagination is the limit. One could say it looks a moth chrysalis hanging in the sky, or an onion clove left to dry, or even a lantern that glows in the dark of night. Built to accommodate 18 people and waiting staff, it sits around 10 metres wide and over 12 metres high.
The interior is just as exciting. The circular timber frame is split apart on its axis with the posterior floor slightly raised, allowing it to be accessed with a playful 60 metre tree-top walkway. While the kitchen and the toilets are at ground level, this wood fortress features a bar and a Juliet deck opposite the entrance, providing a refreshing view of the valley beneath. Glue-laminated pine, plantation poplar, and site-sourced redwood intertwined with each other to form this enormous beacon-like tree house exterior. Windows are positioned in the spaces between the poplar slats that keep everything intact, offering openness and structural soundness at the same time. Complemented with acrylic sheeting fixed to the roof, Yellow Treehouse Restaurant is designed purposefully to be weather-resistant.