Gallery: How to Grow Your Own Treehouse

Latticed trunks of ficus trees make ideal walls for all kinds of houses, including private hideaways for kidlets.

Photo: Richard Reames, Arborsmith

There are houses built in trees and then there are treehouses. Last year, we had one of our first encounters with a home literally made from trees, using the art of weaving (and sometimes grafting) trees together to form structures — a practice ecological designer, Richard Reames, called “Arcorsculpture.” The Fab Tree Hab was one of the design entries for the Index: awards, emerging from the genius of a crew including MIT architect Mitchell Joachim and our friend, Javier Arbona of Archinect. The project description emphasized consideration of whole systems (and ecosystems) in creating a truly sustainable built environment, rather than a piecemeal approach that could yield uncertain longterm outcomes.

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  1. Dave Stutzman February 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I will be starting my first attempt this year as soon as the snow melts. Hope to get pictures available asap.

  2. In Vitro Meat Habitat i... July 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    […] waxed lyrical about botanical walls, green roofs and living treehouses on Inhabitat for years – is the next logical step a home made from animal tissue? Mitchell […]

  3. piet August 20, 2008 at 5:10 am

    I just listened to Paul Laffoley rap about his decade old plans for growing houses but he mentions some ridiculous turn over time i do not understand (yet): 3 months, maybe that is the maintenance interval or something …. enjoy

    inside scoop on outside culture Dan Winter needs to listen into the 7th minute of this (58 minute long look at a longhaired longface keeping his hand on a pile of books and nodding to what PL says).

    right into the 9th minute i lose track of his opposing archimedan with logarhytmic, golden mean spirals.

    Into the 10 minute the man starts leafing through the fattest book in front of him while Paul rambles on about Kaballah.

    So far, for me, nobody beats this:

  4. liebana June 8, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Madrid really has become Europe\’s #1 city of dynamic and progressive architecture.

  5. ana handley September 1, 2007 at 1:42 am

    hey fantastic idea, i’m gonna do it! another amazing thing plants can do for us. getting closer to becoming a nonconsumer yay


  6. Jess August 22, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Just a citation note – your second image comes from artist Patrick Dougherty (

  7. oscar June 6, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    If you know who is interested to by a large piece of land in the hearth of Argentinian’s mountains, ( about 450.000 acres) plenty of valleys, rivers, lagoons, minerals etc. The place is between Mendoza and San Juan Provinces. please feel free to be in touch with me

    Best Regards

  8. naturegift January 24, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    I find it really interesting. I am eager to kow “How to prevent rain and wind from getting into the house? And what is used to make the floor of the house?”

  9. Orly Despacio December 31, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    I whole heartedly support the idea of this sustainable “living room”. It’s great to see such outside the box thinking when everyone seems content with using bamboo floors and calling it sustainable. I would love to see a follow-up, or just more info coming soon??! I like as a reference site, and a great place to start learning about this art?/development idea. Two great books, How to Grow a Chair, and Arborsculpture Solutions For a Small Planet are available on that website.
    Keep Growing,
    Orly Despacio

  10. Henry Kubicki October 22, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Grow your own treehome. Terrific Idea! Love it!

    Hmmm? ? ?

    What is to be done about about ants and termites that live on and in the trees to keep them from getting into and destroying the home enviroment without hurting the trees?

    Henry Kubicki

  11. Negdub August 19, 2006 at 5:21 am

    You need to read a fantasy novel called “Son of the Tree” by Jack Vance. Maybe he wrote it in response to reading about pleaching.

  12. iban June 16, 2006 at 9:39 am

    Very cool. For the world tour on tree sculpting, see also

    Also check out the newsletter and the book on the topic mentioned there.

  13. Dan Malec-Kosak June 14, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Saw this on “That’s Incredible” TV show in the ’80s, only a person had made a playground jungle gym with them!

    Maybe this won’t keep the rain out, or have a place to plug in a computer, but it might make a really cool GARAGE or SHED, particularly if the local zoning department won’t permit one BUILT somewhere. Just GROW ONE!

  14. Julie Niemeyer June 13, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    I must agree whole heartedly with Mr. Dutton….Best piece of information to date. Useful. I do get tired of recycled junk as art.

  15. Roger Dutton June 13, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    This is the most interesting piece of information I have received to date! I don’t need to know how to wrap wire around a bottle or spend large wedges of “hard earned” on faddy trash. This is something I have never seen or heard of and I want to know more! Nature designs the beauty, we should simply use that to our advantage not just for more profit.
    Thank you very much.
    Roger Dutton

  16. Jaggae June 13, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Wow! I really like this idea. Maybe not for me to live permanently but i think my bunnies will love it! Heehee! However, if developed into that illustration, it will sure make a cozy house. Reminds me of Gummi Bears! Y’know…bouncing here and there and everywhere?!

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