When I was in grade school, I spend my summer in my mother's hometown. I stayed there for at least a month or two. One of the best experiences is playing in a treehouse at my grandparent's place. Today, the treehouse is long gone, and I often see three houses in the province or anywhere for a long time. I was watching a documentary on National Geographic about the nomadic lifestyle. I am amazed at how old civilization mirrors the apes by living on top of trees.
Treehouses are dwelling built around or in between the trunks and branches of trees. The idea of treehouses is archaic to humans; hence indigenous people build houses on trees to prevent predators. Most indigenous civilizations prefer to live in treehouses like the apes and alike. Some countries see treehouses as part of every day rather than being exotic. In New Guinea, the Korowai clans of the Papuan tribe prefer to live in treehouses. They raised their homes to prevent wilds and floods straying in their homes to take their food or belongings. The Korowai people keep their homes above the grounds.
As a kid, I love to dwell in a treehouse. I must say that it is a dream for most of the kids. Some people take these dreams further by creating stunning and architectural masterpieces adapting the treehouses. Architects and designers create a nostalgic but contemporary take on treehouses that everyone would love to enjoy and relax. It ranges from hotels to cafes that you can go to during holiday getaways. Some architects created an astonishing version of a treehouse with multiple cabins or incorporating glass on it.
Modern treehouses became popular in the 1990s. Families create recreational playhouses at their backyards to commercial and hospitality spaces involving creatives, architects, and designers. Here are famous modern houses around the world.
The Mirrorcube has a size of 4x4x4 meters, which access through a rope bridge. It has an all-glass exterior that reflects the surrounding forest and sky, while it has plywood coated with a birch interior that accommodates two people. It has a bed, bathroom, living room and a terrace. Tham & Videgard Arkitekter designed the Mirrorcube. We can locate the Mirrorcube near a small village of Harads in Sweden. The Mirrorcube bridges nature and modern architecture.
The Mirrocube blends with the surrounding due to its glass exterior. (Dezeen)
The Mirrorcube used a plywood for its interior. (Dezeen)
Biku Treehouse Retreat, Pananma
Baca Architects founder Richard Coutts designed the treehouse and residence at the Biku Treehouse Retreat, which in Bocas del Toro archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The Biku Treehouse is a 25-square-meters cocoa pod-shaped treehouse that uses bamboo as the primary construction material. The architect made a wise decision in using bamboo; hence it is abundant in Panama. The spiral staircase wraps around the tree trunk, which builds using bamboo also the treehouse cladding. The design aims to take advantage of the idyllic setting and panoramic view of the Caribbean. The architect chooses the cocoa-pad treehouse design considering the deep overhanging sun protection, cross-ventilation, water catchment, and protection from tropical rains storms.
The exterior of the Biku Treehouse Retreat built using bamboo material. (Dezeen)
A close up of the Biku Treehouse (Amazing Architecture)
The interior of Biku Treehouse (Dezeen)
Pinecone-shaped Treehouse in Dolomites, Italy
We can locate the structure in the town of Ugovizza in the Dolomites. Italian architect Claudio Beltrame designed the pinecone-shaped treehouse in the Italian Alps. He created the treehouse in response to the growing ecotourism in the area, which elevates the treehouse about 10 meters from the ground and supported by fir trees. It is accessible through a wooden bridge. Beltrame collaborated with DimusGaia, a specialist in wooden prefabricated houses, to complete the project.
The exterior cladding resembles the pinecone scales by cutting wood into overlapping shapes. It has cross-laminated timber for its frame, which has boomerang shapes. They insulated the treehouse with breathable wood fiber. It also has large windows with sliding shutters to cover the balcony. On the inside, it has a seating area, kitchen, and bathroom. We can locate this architectural masterpiece in the Dolomites, a UNESCO WOrld Heritage area.
Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, New Zealand
The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant is a nature-inspired tree house float 10 meters off the ground, and it sits on top of an enormous Redwood tree, which measures over 40 meters high and 1.7 meters in diameter at the base. The treehouse reminisces childhood dreams and playtime of fairytales and superheroes. The treehouse resembles 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.
The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant's exterior (Archdaily)
The interior of the Yellow Treehouse Restaurant (Archdaily)
The Architects of Pacific Environment designed a simple oval form wrapped that organically wraps around the trunk and structurally tied at top and bottom. It allows a playful treetop walkway experience by slipping inside the exposed face of the pod. It enchants the customers of the juxtaposition of being in an enclosed space. There is a Juliet deck opposite the entrance to complete our fairytale experience and enchantment while dining in the place.
The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant at night (Archdaily)
A closer view of the Yellow Treehouse Restaurant during the night (Archdaily)
ZYJ Tree House World, China
The ZYJ Tree House World is in the forests of Qiyun Mountain, Huangshan, China. A team of architects led by Ziye Zhu designed the ZYJ Tree House World. They built the treehouse as a campsite-style resort villa that merges steel and wood structure combines architectural form. It considers childhood interests that result in the UFO-themed design. It has a UFO lighting entrance, a star-shaped trampoline, and a flying saucer roasting table to boost an out-of-the-world space vibe of the treehouse. It gives the campers beautiful vistas through the large-angle floor-to-ceiling glass window. Also, a circle porch deals with the rainy climate.
An aerial view of the ZYJ Tree House World (Archdaily)
The exterior of ZYJ Tree House World (Archdaily)
A bedroom in ZYJ Tree House World (Archdaily)
Again, The idea of treehouses is archaic to humans. Treehouses allow us to feel the nostalgia of our childhood fantasies and dreams. I love how people's ingenuity transforms the old concept into a contemporary one. The modern treehouses bring us to our childhood playtime with fairytales and superheroes by giving us a space to relax and chill out with all of the contemporary amenities. Besides, I observed most modern treehouses pay tribute to our treehouses in the old days using the same materials like wood. They used ecofriendly and vernacular material to give us the same feel as the old treehouse but in modern aesthetics.
Note: The cover image of this post is created by the author using Canva.
- Mirrorcube by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter
- Baca Architects bases treehouse hotel for Panama eco resort on a cocoa pod
- Pinecone-shaped treehouse in the Dolomites allows visitors to sleep under the stars
- Yellow Treehouse Restaurant by Pacific Environments
- The Tree House in Qiyun Mountain by Atelier Design Continuum