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Green Treehouse Provides an Incredible Learning Playground
Stunning design and green architecture shouldn’t be reserved just for adults, as showcased by this gorgeous green treehouse built by the architects at Lord, Aeck & Sargent. Constructed as an extension to Camp Twin Lakes, a camp dedicated to kids with special needs, this treehouse is not only beautiful, fun and kid friendly, but green as well!
The treehouse, also known as the “Wild Side,” was built to be completely wheelchair accessible along either of the camp’s two lake-bound trails. The architects intended to create a space where kids could begin to connect with nature and learn about the different ecosystems that surround them. The treehouse is fairly ample in size and features a main space meant for environmental arts and crafts, an area for their drumming program, a storytelling and activity room, and some extra space for the staff and storage. There is even a 600-square foot covered deck with bench-to-ceiling screens that provides panoramic views of the pristine setting.
But that’s not all – amenities in the treehouse were specifically designed to be environmentally sensitive, giving the little campers the opportunity to learn about sustainability and saving water and energy. The Wild Side features a 1,700-square-foot green roof garden (which replaces the structure’s displaced forest floor below) in addition to a 1.4-kilowatt, eight-module photovoltaic solar array, two dry composting toilets, a copper rain chain to help divert rainwater that comes from a gutter over the door, and 3 dome skylights that take advantage of the forest’s amazing natural light. Camp Twin Lakes’ executive director Eric Robbins sees the treehouse as “a perfect educational tool for children and adults to learn about sustainability options.”
Students at the Savannah College of Art and Design contributed a bit of creativity to project as well. The school’s introductory sculpture class created totem pole-inspired sculptures to line the trail leading up to the Wild Side.
Camp Twin Lakes grew out of the community’s desire to provide camping facilities and programs catering to children with serious illness, disabilities or other challenges. Limited availability left programs contending with one another for space, and existing venues failed to provide the appropriate amenities for the campers with special needs. The completed project introduces a highly flexible campsite that can be customized to individual camp groups, and features climate controlled cabins, wheel chair-accessible recreation facilities and a state-of-the-art medical lodge where procedures such as dialysis and chemotherapy can be carried out.
Treehouse Images © 2009 Jonathan Hillyer Photography
Totem Pole Image courtesy of SCAD
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