Gallery: Beautiful Buildings Made From Whole Trees


According to the Forest Products Laboratory, a whole, unmilled tree can support 50 percent more weight than the largest piece of lumber milled from the same tree. Putting this principle into practice, Whole Tree Architecture is dedicated to building with materials that lumber companies consider scrap – weed trees, also know as ‘managed forest thinnings.’ The resulting projects are beautiful displays of locally sourced and sustainably managed materials.

Not to be confused with a traditional log cabin, building with whole trees is a sustainable, affordable building philosophy Roald Gundersun has been refining for the past 16 years. As much a forest management process as it is a building technique, Gundersun uses only local, small diameter — 10-inches or less — trees culled from the client’s site, and larger trees already downed by disease or wind. Trees are selected based on forest stand density and invasive species management as well as structural integrity and aesthetics. There is no milling, transportation, or bulk curing.

The benefits are economic as well as ecological. According to WTA, “…whole tree construction invests a greater proportion of its costs into local jobs and materials than conventional construction and also promotes healthy forest management for local timber resources.” Gunderson’s philosophy is holistic; every aspect of a project — design, engineering, construction and craftsmanship — is considered in light of the local ecology and economy.

While Whole Tree Architecture is obviously not feasible for everyone, it is certainly a brilliantly forward-thinking solution for the small farming community in Wisconsin where WTA is based. In our opinion, their use of local labor and local, renewable, and sustainably-managed materials offers a prescient vision of a vibrant, green future.

+ Whole Tree Architecture

Via The New York Times

Photos by Paul Kelley for The New York Times


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  1. Platernian April 3, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Is this “Dr Laura” for real? “Bored”! perhaps she should see someone about her ability to find “interest” in her world.

  2. Dr.Laura August 29, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    It is very beautiful but if you were living in that house you’d be bored with the color don’t you think?

  3. Jedibabe June 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Looks incredibly child-friendly to me! My kids would literally be climbing the walls. This is beautiful.

  4. vgoon November 23, 2009 at 10:24 am

    doesn’t look child-friendly

  5. davidwayneosedach November 14, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Granted this is not for everyone. But – for the lucky few…

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