Spending time in nature does wonders for your health and well-being, yet for much of the day, many of us find ourselves holed up in buildings and other enclosed spaces that don't have much of a connection with the natural world. So it's no wonder that more whimsical forms of architecture such as treehouses and tiny houses end up capturing our imaginations.
ArchDaily shows us one delightful treehouse-style space by Austrian design firm a-lp architektur. This space of contemplation amongst the trees uses a distinctive spherical form that's been clad with recycled oak wood offcuts.
Inspired by the traditional Japanese teahouse, this structure has been elevated on tree-trunk pillars and sits on a black-coloured base to add extra stability. According to the architect, tree trunk pillars are something traditionally used by wine farmers in Lower Austria. Here, however, the structure serves as place for sipping tea, not wine, in silence. It also doubles as a place where the treehouse's owner can host regression therapy sessions with patients, and is accessible by a ramp.
Inside, the rounded shape is largely devoid of sharp corners, and is reminiscent of a safe, quiet and womb-like room. There is a built-in wooden oak bench that seems to curve up and become a small counter, equipped with a lovely little copper sink.
The window openings here are deliberately orthogonal to offer some contrast and to accommodate the more standardized windows. The largest one incorporates a seating bench, inviting visitors to sit down and gaze out over the garden and its pond. Above the space is an oculus window that lets in sunlight, but also sports a painting done by the owner that has been printed on the glass, lending a personal touch.
The architects describe how the small structure was made:
To create the building’s organic form while still using a low-tech approach to the construction, we used small timber offcuts. A local barrel-maker provided the oak wood offcuts that were recycled on site. The timber pieces were stacked above each other in more than 40 layers, following the form of pre-built templates. A trapezoid shape, inserted into the organic form of the teahouse, frames the big window. Through the materiality of oak timber and copper, the teahouse fits into the surrounding vegetation and becomes part of the grown garden.
The way inhabitable spaces are built make a big difference in how we feel and interact with the space and its surroundings. Here, instead of a sterile space with lots of bothersome corners, we have a well-rounded area of calm in a natural setting that's perfect for that bit of necessary inner contemplation. For more, see a-lp architektur.