Most people envision treehouses as simple, do-it-yourself structures made for kids to enjoy. But as we've seen in recent years, a number of designers and builders are creating high-end versions of treehouses, made for adults, and some of them, big enough and well-equipped enough to live in full-time.
It's meant to be a cabin-like house, conceived as a "vertically arranged 'clearing in the forest,' " and placed on structural stilts on the highest point of a small clearing among the trees on the property, maximizing views out to the landscape.
The home's form, spatial configuration and meticulous detailing are inspired by the work and spatial approaches of Horace Gifford, Kengo Kuma, Louis Kahn and Carlo Scarpa. The first floor contains the living spaces, patio, dining; a bedroom and bathroom on the second level and a roof deck on the top. There is a "plant room" located below the building as well, and the home is accessible via a suspended wood and Corten steel ramp.
Plan-wise, the building is a square with four semi-circular bays pinwheeling out. Each centre of the circle is defined by a four-piece column and a circular ring, and steel arms that branch out, which offers support to the floor beams above. These are made from laser-cut and folded Corten steel plate. It's almost like the home has its own interior trees to make an organic space. It's a balance of the human-made and nature, say the architects:
A square is directional and a circle not - the square relates to the North/South site geometry and the four circles to the organic and natural surroundings. [..]
The steel trees support timber floors beams, facade glazing and a western red cedar building envelope. The connections between steel and timber are expressed by means of hand-turned brass components. All materials are left untreated, and will express the passing of time as they weather naturally with the surrounding trees.
Here's a close-up of the four-piece central column of each circle, which is actually made up of four steel pieces; beautiful detailing here and striking contrast been the wood and metal.
We know that spending more time in nature helps increase our sense of well-being, so it only makes sense to design our buildings in a way that is not only sustainably built, but allows us to feel like we are part of nature. Treehouses or structures that incorporate tree-like concepts are one way to do it, and this design is certainly one of the more elegant renditions we've ever seen of a modern treehouse, not only from afar but also when looking close up at the finer elements. To see more, visit ArchDaily and Malan Vorster.