How Building a Treehouse Led to a Career in Arbortecture
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.
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