Occasionally, nature can stand in the way of building your dream project, especially when there is a tree firmly rooted in the midst of your land. But rather than chopping down the intruder, some savvy self-builders and creative architects would rather incorporate the tree into the design and truly embrace the advantages a living plant can bring to a project – and the results are amazing.
In this guide, we’ve put together ten examples of great designs that harmonise with nature. So in no particular order (because it’s really hard to choose), here are ten of our favourite, treemendous structures we’ve come across:
A couple from Texas win Grandparents of the Year by taking a treehouse to a whole new level. This incredible structure, built for their grandchildren, incorporates two decks, two sleeping lofts, a zip-line, a suspension footbridge and a crow’s nest. It’s also air-conditioned – a necessity in Texas. The interior is laid-out like a miniature family home, complete with vintage furnishings and decor. It’s a childhood dream come true.
While this block of apartments doesn’t include a physical tree, the shape of this high-rise building in Montpellier, France, is very much tree-inspired. Each apartment has up to three balconies that protrude outwards like leaves.
Manal Rachdi the architect explains: “Just as leaves in a tree are naturally arranged to get the maximum sun, we’ve mathematically arranged these balconies and cantilevers to catch and shade the sun.”
Architect Luciano Pia named this apartment building in Turin, Italy, ‘25 Verde’ – meaning twenty-five green. It integrates so many beautiful trees, it’s hard to tell where the forest ends and the homes begin. The building is five stories high with a total of 63 rooms. Not only do the trees provide a beautiful addition, they also serve an important purpose: to clean the air and reduce noise pollution from the street below.
This delightful building in Turkey is the Science, Culture and Education Foundation – and we could all learn a thing or two from this design. Architects found a loophole when authorities said the 325-year -old pine tree on site could not be cut down to make way for the foundation. Quite rightly too – we think this adds a unique and flattering touch to the art-deco design. The branches of the ancient tree reach right up through the attic of the building and over the balcony.
Cabin Among the Woods
Architects Martin Fernandez de Lema and Nicolas Moreno Deutsch completed this ‘cabin’ in 2007, but the way the trees spring up through the walkway and decking, makes it look like it has always been a part of the forest.
Designed by Yui and Takaharu Tezuka, this glass and wood structure wraps around a 50-year-old tree, which creates an attractive interior garden and creative play-space for children – and adults alike.
Architect Aibek Almasov created a peaceful retreat in the mountains of Kazakhstan with a new type of treehouse. The cylinder building completely wraps around a pine tree, rather than just sitting on the branches. And the glass walls allow you to see the surrounding wood that makes you feel part of the forest.
The tree, covered in vines, acts as the focal point of all the living areas in this home in Rio — living room, dining room, kitchen and TV room. The trunk is three metres in diameter and sits in the circular opening of the building that not only allows light and ventilation, it connects the garden with the body of the home.
“The feeling is that we are a house-balcony” said owner Rodrigo.
In this modern-home with a twist, architects created vertical windows that enclose numerous tree trunks that burst through the floors, leaving the surrounding forest un-interrupted.
New Zealand’s Yellow Tree House restaurant is definitely somewhere you’d want to tick off your bucket list. The curved treehouse is made from glue-laminated pine and timber trusses make up the foundation of the building and sits around a redwood tree.
Up to thirty people can enjoy this unique dining experience that is more than thirty-feet wide and fourty-feet high. The spaces in the walls allow a flood of natural light, but providing the weather isn’t on your side, acrylic sheeting on the roof and blinds can be rolled down from the inside to keep it cosy.
These examples have really shown how incorporating a tree into your design can help to create a unique and extensive look to your home.
Narrowing down the list to just ten entries was pretty tough, considering the vast amount of treemendous projects littering the web. So if you’ve got any suggestions for ones we would’ve included, don’t hesitate to give us a shout on Twitter.
And if you’re looking for the right kind of timber for a particularly ambitious project, check out our fantastic range of timber or simply get in touch with International Timber today.