Gallery: How Building a Treehouse Led to a Career in Arbortecture

Feider proves that treehouses aren't just for kids: these designs are ideal for any adult to play in.
Feider proves that treehouses aren't just for kids: these designs are ideal for any adult to play in.

Many children spend hours playing in treehouses, but only a select few of them turn that pursuit into a career path. As a nod to days of youthful splendor, a then-23-year-old Dustin Feider created the ideal, eco-friendly version of a tree sanctuary for his final thesis project at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s infamous geodesic dome, Feider discovered that by following Bucky’s lead, he could use less material and construct a more stable structure than that of the “traditional” treehouse—most importantly, without harming the supporting tree at all. Whether by intention or kismet, Feider now runs a company called O2 Treehouse, which specializes in custom “arbor-textural creations”, and has designed dozens of structures around the globe.

The original treehouse that Feider designed was created from translucent 1/16th inch triangulated polypropylene panels. When lit from within, the structure glowed with an ethereal light that spilled out in a light show at sunset: as panels were opened for air circulation, stunning purple shadows were cast below. All the materials used for the treehouse were entirely recycled, and while the original treehouse was 13 feet wide, the basic design can be customized to suit any size requirements.

Since that original design, Feider and his team at O2 Treehouse has created custom designs for ecotourism attractions, mediation retreats and elements in learning environments, in addition to unique residential retreat spaces. They utilize all kinds of materials, from upcycled copper and cedar to bamboo, reclaimed steel, and wooden pallets. The treehouses they create are as breathtaking as they are eco-conscious, and are ideal structures in which one can get away from the stresses of everyday life and daydream like we did when we were children. It just goes to show that sometimes, the subject we’re most passionate about can indeed become a career path, and following our dreams might take us to unexpected heights.

+ O2 Treehouse


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  1. karenart February 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Magical! Wonderful design who doesn’t love a tree house. Great job Dustin. Can you show us pictures of the inside? How long did this take to construct? sustainable design architects

  2. Drop September 20, 2008 at 4:05 am

    it’s a very good idea
    The tree-house, my favorite topic, let us together make house-sphere of steel wire and clay in Russia and Ukraine

  3. Dawn March 8, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Happen to come across this surfing the web and thought it was so cool! Can’t wait to email it to all my friends and family!

  4. sarah October 10, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    any objections to me putting your tree house in one of my paintings?

  5. ammy August 13, 2007 at 12:16 pm


  6. Dustin Feider July 30, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Give me a call. 612 636-6656

  7. deepthi July 28, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    hey its really gr8………. i would like to know more techniques and methos of doing this type of architeture…….. more innovative methods

  8. Jakub July 2, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Hello, we would like to publish these pictures in our magazine for children called ABC.
    Would you mind you could contact us please?

  9. Eric June 11, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    One beautiful tree and this ugly parasitic thing on it, visible from miles around ?

    False good idea.
    I would be like putting a hammock in a Japanese garden.

    Leave the trees alone, please. Green building should be *discrete* above all !

  10. Dustin Feider April 4, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you everyone for your very gracious comments. Go to my site where you can download a PDF with more info on how the structure hangs in the tree and how the treehouse can be customized using all sustainable materials ( recycled,recycleable,reuse). The structure starts at $6,800 and goes up from there.

  11. Pinks March 26, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    intriguing. would love to commission one for our camp for kids.
    any cost estimates available?!

  12. dyan March 21, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Love it!!!

  13. Jorge Forni March 16, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    The idea is great. I think is easy to get better.
    Stuart, i live in a sismic country, it’s all about the structure, for a storm you must to put in there the rigth materials, it depends of the place in the world where it is.

    It’s a very good idea.

  14. Stuart Vail March 16, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I love it! But, what happens in a storm? I have a great tree for this, but sometimes we get 50 MPH winds and I think that the structure would get crushed by the moving branches.

  15. dr. miguel stroe March 16, 2007 at 9:28 am


    DR. M. STROE

  16. Bosda Di'Chi March 16, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Fit for Ewoks.

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