Suspended above the ground 26 huge laminated timber ribs surround tree house like the canopy of an ancient tree. Each of the 6m high timber ribs is finished with a unique and sustainable timber product called Kebony, a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood. Kebony is a fitting choice for the tree house because of its strength and environmental credibility.
“When you say the word ‘tree house’ most people think of a few pieces of timber and palette up in the branches of a tree. As you can see this is not the type of tree house we build. We have completed a wide variety of strange tree house requests, including installing: an Aga oven, hot tubs, home cinemas, offices, wet rooms, secret tunnels and even a tree house with a separate door for the fairies!!” Says Simone Payne, Director of Blue Forest Tree Houses, a bespoke luxury tree house builder in East Sussex, England. Blue Forest has been fulfilling clients’ dreams for a wide range of unique structures from fairytale play areas to romantic tree house hideaways. “We have built residential and commercial tree houses from hotels and Bed & Breakfast all over the world, to private Zen retreats for wealthy celebrities, even royalties.”
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN HUMANS AND NATURE
These arboreal architectures are inspired by nature, organic shapes and how animals and insects build their nests, using natural material and building techniques that have minimal impact on the environment. The designs are aimed to blend in with nature and try not to dominate the surrounding area. These are the principles of biomimicry, whose shape mimics organic forms that exist in nature which intended to help disguise the design of the structure into the woods as a way to further unite the two.
Suspended between fantasy and reality, the Roost treehouse embodies this concept mimicking the organic curvaceous forms found in nature. “The aim was to create a tree house that could blend in and almost become part of the tree itself, camouflaged in the surrounding forest.” Says Antony Gibbons, creative designer of the Roost and principal of Antony Gibbon Designs. The Roost treehouse consists of a series of pod like capsules that are harnessed to the trunk of each tree using a bracing technique that causes no harm or interference with the trees growth. Each capsule has a central spiral staircase leading up to an outdoor platform. This connects to the adjoining pod allowing access into the next structure a well as providing additional support to the overall structures. Only one of the pods has the spiral staircase running to ground level. The interior of each pod sleeps 2 people and the above exterior platform is designed to interact with the forest surroundings providing panoramic views of the trees canopy’s. All the materials used for the construction are from sustainable materials and do not damage the trees in any shape or form.
Treehouse resorts, dubbed Treesorts, are instead the latest trend in luxury travel, springing up everywhere from the U.S. to New Zealand. Rooms can range from $50 to $600 a night, according to The Wall Street Journal. Building a hotel in the treetops is hardly a new idea: Brazil’s Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel has been inviting guests to explore the jungle canopy from its rooms since the mid-1980’s. But the concept has blossomed and the level of luxury and comfort achieved is unparallel. This is the case for example of South Africa’s Tsala Treetop Lodge, in Plettenberg Bay, and you’ll find infinity pools and fireplaces. In Sweden instead, leading Swedish architects gave the backyard staple a strange futuristic makeover at the Treehotel outside Harads village. Perched four to six meters above the ground, each of five treetop suites has its own look, whether resembling a bird’s nest, a flying saucer, or a construction of Lego blocks. The most ingenious suite has a mirrored exterior, reflecting the forest on all six sides.
What better way to learn how to build a treehouse than to acutally get started building one! Treehouse Workshops are five day, interactive training courses for people interested in learning how to build treehouses from scratch. These small group workshops are open to enthusiasts of all skill levels and take place at various locations around the country. Not only will you learn the basic concepts about treehouse design and construction, through hands-on experience you’ll practice all steps up to, and including, the construction of the platform that will hold the treehouse.
• Tree selection and protection
• Basic tree climbing
• Tool safety
• Installation of specialty treehouse hardware
Participants enjoy meals and down-time together—a great opportunity to share dreams, stories and ideas about treehouses and life. You’ll leave with printed informational materials, practical treehouse building experience, a climbing safety helmet and new treehouse friends!
If you are looking to re-connect with nature, a romantic gateway, or to awaken your inner child, tree living maybe just a new opportunity to explore.
Photo Credits: Blue Forest and Anthony Gibbons