Often described as the ultimate in nature-friendly architecture, Tree Houses are a unique way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world. Designed to be connected with the forest, these homes offer the perfect escape from the stress of modern life and are built for families looking for a unique holiday experience.
The ethos behind Tree House Architecture is simple: it wants to connect with the environment around you, and that means integrating as much of the trees as possible into your design. This is a key aspect of the practice of biomimicry, which seeks to mimic nature by using materials that naturally resemble those found in the surrounding landscape.
Anthony Gibbon, based in upstate New York, follows this ethos by placing the Inhabit Tree House atop the Catskill Forest Preserve. The tree house’s shape echoes the natural growth of its surrounding trees, with cedar wood sourced from FSC-certified forests and nestled amongst them during construction.
A ‘cabin’-style design, the Inhabit is split into two distinct volumes and is designed to accommodate the needs of both guests and staff. The lower floor houses a kitchen, dining and living area, while the upper level hosts bedrooms. The space is also home to a deck and outdoor terrace that overlooks the surrounding forests.
Another architect who is firmly committed to the idea of a connection with the natural environment is Peter Pichler. His A-F3 Tree Houses are shaped to sit amongst the highest of the tallest trees, while a hexagonal floor-plate allows for a large uninterrupted window to offer unrivalled views of the forest.
As an added bonus, the A-F3 Tree Houses consume net-zero energy and ‘envelope’ the surrounding forest to protect it from climate change. The sharp, steep roofs are inspired by the surrounding maple, poplar and oak trees, and they’re clad in local timber.
While many architects follow the ‘tie in’ method for treehouses, Bulgarian architects Ignatov have developed the Home Tree Concept, which instead of using a traditional structure, uses the tree to support its construction. The building’s structure is crafted out of a series of pleaching techniques that intertwine plant branches along the tree trunk.
The use of pleaching also makes the project clean and efficient, as it reduces the need for a large amount of concrete. The structure also requires no additional structural support, meaning it can be built for a very long time without any maintenance costs.
With so much focus on the natural environment, it’s no surprise that tree houses are increasingly becoming popular with homeowners. As the concept of ‘biophilic design’ has grown in popularity, more and more designers are looking to incorporate nature into their designs.
To celebrate this, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite examples of the trend. From an elegantly crafted treehouse to a playful pigsty, here are 10 inspiring examples of the hottest trend in eco-friendly architecture.
A ‘pigsty’ is a small, circular shelter used to house pigs, so it makes sense that designer Amir Sanei would take inspiration from this to create his own tree house for his sons. The treehouse is designed to evoke a pigsty, but it’s also an organic, sculptural piece that offers the perfect place to relax and unwind.