I love the Love Shack. I found this treasure of a design while exploring Smartshax, an Australian company that designs lightweight, prefab timber huts for remote areas and vacation spots. Smartshax are intentionally unremarkable little cabins, which are meant to blend in and highlight their natural surroundings. So among these plain facades, my eye was magnetized to this single image of the Love Shack, an idyllic looking bungalow perched among the treetops.

The project draws its inspiration from traditional Aboriginal sleeping platforms. This prototype Love Shack is located in Darwin, a tropical area that fluctuates between high rainfall and humidity, and arid heat. Survival in such an extreme climate hinges on having a good place to kick back and find a little comfort. Nestled into the cool shade of the trees, this is the antidote to overwhelming weather.

The Love Shack is designed to be factory-built and delivered by truck, taking only three days for on-site construction. The shack uses passive design, renewable and recyclable materials and non-toxic finishes. Walls and flooring are comprised of full, uncut sheets of plywood. For cost effectiveness and waste reduction, rafters and floor joists are cut to standard length and share a cross section, with rope ties replacing expensive hardware components. The roof is a custom-orb which curves to the radius of the rafters without mechanical bending. The shack consists of a single room, 3×4.8m, with a sleeping and sitting area designated through placement of furniture. Shuttered openings offer efficient cross-ventilation and wraparound views of the trees.

Of all the nouveau treehouses that have shown up lately, this is my favorite. It doesn’t try to be a home, just a hideout with a little shade, a little breeze, and plenty of peace and quiet. I hope there are a few fortunate Australian readers out there with a welcoming backyard. If I could, I’d build a Love Shack getaway immediately.

(And on top of it all, the brochure promises: “If you cant get lucky in a Love Shack, you just aren’t trying.”)

Many thanks to Simon Scally of Build Up Design for the detailed information and images.

Link: Smartshax


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  1. philip good October 13, 2005 at 1:47 am

    very simple and functional, would love to see more

  2. Jaggae October 11, 2005 at 2:20 am

    I like that there is maximised viewing pleasure of the lush greenery. But, given the wet weather of tropical rainforests, i doubt the people inside can stay dry for long, ha!

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