On the subject of art imitating trees, check out this awesome design for tree-like windmills, from One Architecture, Ton Matton and NL Architects in the Netherlands. Leave it to the Dutch to come up with such a clever, beautiful, eco-friendly idea for power generation. This is why I am going to Holland people! (I’m hopping on the next plane over there. Seriously…)

This design was comissioned by the Dutch government, to develop a next-generation windmill that would be less intrusive in the flat Dutch landscape than the industrial mill-parks that currently generate much of the Netherlands power. The proposed windmill uses an organic branching design that can hold up to 8 turbines and grow as tall as 120 meters. I’m not sure I would call these “unobtrusive” – but they are beautiful enough that it doesn’t really matter.

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  1. Dillon MacEwan January 14, 2013 at 3:42 am

    An interesting idea but pretty impracticle – the extra cost in making these maintanence friendly (you access the turbines through the towers, also they genrally house junction boxes down the inside of the tower), and the extra forces on the base due to the cantelevered branches would outweigh any gain from aesthetic novelty.

    Also the reason why wind turbines are getting taller is because there is a significantly better yeild of wind at 100m than say 60, and the taller towers allow for longer blades and therefore more efficient turbines.

    personally I don\’t understand the problem people have with the way windmills look – been to an open cast coal mine or coal fired power station lately?

  2. UPpete February 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

    I entered this page with the idea of putting a windmill in the top of a living tree. My spruce needs less top weight and wind resistance so that the house is not threatened. My concept is to prune the very upper branches, and install a small windmill. It would be 2 sets of blades, on both sodes of the tree, for ballance. It would be mounted on a bearing, bearing on a collar around the tree. The upwind set would be smaller but more dense to ballance the weight. Has anyone a design or experience with such? Thanks! Pete

  3. r.w.conn July 10, 2007 at 12:44 am

    they look sinister, almost evil.

  4. mirKo November 23, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    NL Architects are very interesting.. and i think that their windmills are a good example of landescape work.. but only for a good organic design.. this mills can’t be less intrusive than the traditional ones.. may be i’m wrong..
    anyway, i’m curious to know how i feel surrounded by them.. i’d like to see these “dutch windmills” in Sicily too.. here, i see only the conventional ones.. take a look at Pedagaggi SurReality Set or Pedagaggi

  5. Martin September 17, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    Dear Magali,
    there is no wind mills of such characteristics – the tallest one is on Tokyo (121m); the second in Brittany (France with 111m); and the third in USA. Apart from these exceptions, most of the mills are about 40-50m. Hope that in your discussion you weren’t the one thinking that most mills were about 100m

  6. Magali Pettier September 4, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    just was discussing with some friends about the height of wind mills.
    By the info provided in your website we can see that, in future, they may grow up to 120metres. In present, most of them are 30-50m. Is there nowadays any wind mill as high as 120m? And, if so, what’s the rate as
    compared to the normal ones; and the advantages?

    many thanks,
    Magali Pettier

  7. Daniel Holley July 25, 2006 at 4:54 am

    …now design several modern dutch windmill tree houses and we’ll have a forest of mini-farm houses! 3-5 turbine trees in various geometries could be both stable and relatively simple for maintenace, as well as suitable for an efficiency studio structure or observatory…(assuming the structure wouldn’t obstruct the wind too much?) Birds can build nests, caterpillars can spin cocoons, why can’t we solve this design problem?
    Design in this direction may convince me to become a local market mini-farmer!

  8. Nick Simpson July 23, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    I see your point, but I like it if nothing else because it triggers debate. What matters to most of us here is getting sustainable energy sources on the ground. We need to remember that for the most part, these turbines go up in rural locations – where the local planning committee (I live in the UK I should add) are made up of the local councillors. In these sorts of rural places, a lot of the councillors are not the more educated members of the community, but simply the village idiots with the loudest voices. And if making a turbine look like a tree works, fine by me.

    I must admit I like it in a way, quite sculptural as long as there’s not too many branches, although I see Jon’s point about simple elegance with the normal design.

    Worth looking at this from Marks Barfield though:

  9. FlatGreg July 21, 2006 at 2:27 am

    I don’t know how much maintenance is required on wind turbines, but any that you’d have to do on this one would be much worse. What if you had to get to the top “branch?”

  10. Leopold Mak Ender July 17, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    I like it and I´ll follow your idea…

  11. Jon B July 17, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    “beautiful” – I’m not so sure about that – I love organic forms and yet this looks pretty creepy – some evil barren tree. I think the simple elegance of a single wind turbines are more attractive – plus even if this is technical achievable it is likely to have more stability problems that regular turbines.

    I like it, but I’d rather not have it on the landscape – it’s too obvious.

    Of course that is just my opinion and if it’s a choice of these or no turbines then I’d obviously go for these. I just don’t like man made trees much – natural trees do it so much better.

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