Architecture, Book April 28, 2011 By Nalina Moses

Caption Here

Treehouse Ellenriede, Hanover, Germany, 2006. Image courtesy of DOM Publishers.

     Most of the treehouses look like houses, only smaller and built into trees. And most of them, perhaps naturally, use wood as their primary material. The small scale gives rise to intimate, immaculately-crafted structures. Using ordinary studs, panels and shingles, designers have built houses with inventive geometries, including egg-shaped vaults and canoe-like shells. The fact that the houses are pinned only delicately to the tree and exposed on all sides to the elements gives them a special vulnerability. They’re like small organisms embedded within the tree’s ecosystem.
     The most compelling treehouses aren’t conceived as homes but as refuges: art studios, playrooms, and sleeping huts. Many are just large enough for one person to occupy at a time. There’s something profoundly solitary and inward-looking about them, and yet they feel expansive inside, offering quietness and immense, uncluttered views to the landscape. The best treehouses shape spaces for introspection and imagination; they’re like chambers for dreams.


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