Gallery: PREFAB FRIDAY: EcoCoon Retreats


Lofted high above in the trees, Mathier Collos’ EcoCoon retreats are a conceptual design for prefabricated housing. Each of the London-based architect’s cocoon-like pod is outfitted with an array of sustainable features including rainwater collection, a greywater system, and biomass heating. And depending on the type of tree used and the tree branching density, solar panels can also be integrated to help make these pods as eco-sensitive as possible. The two-story, split-level retreats can comfortably accommodate two adults or a small family and larger models may be able to act as a small, quaint hostel with several guests.

The cocoon is supported by steel suspension cables that are attached to the tree’s stronger branches above. With the tree trunk running through the center of the cocoon, the trunk naturally acts as a hand rail and central divider between the home’s triangular shaped spaces. The polygonal-shaped panels of the EcoCoon make the structure easily assembled on site. Each made of pre-insulated materials with high thermal resistance, the panels are designed to make the interior more comfortable without using a ton of resources.

Much like other retreats, the EcoCoons allow its inhabitants to re-connect to nature. On each level of the shelters, one panel is hinged so it can open up into a terrace while smaller, fixed windows give residents a chance to peek out into the surrounding nature.


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  1. unknown July 8, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    i think u should have given more details as how the house is been placed on the tree and how the house looks quite simple on paper but it is not so.

  2. brown May 13, 2009 at 6:01 am

    I just don’t understand why so much of eco architecture has to be so ugly!
    i think eco structures should be designed to blend more with their environment, to reflect nature in this way. why must we inhabit such angles!!

  3. nofelix February 14, 2009 at 10:03 am


    swaying about in a storm might be part of the fun!

    and trees have successfully been put through buildings before with a type of clear valve/window. I can’t remember the project but there’s a well known one which is a large cuboid near a beach (I think) with many small trees going through it. And that works fine

  4. atozglobal February 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    It certainly gets one to thinking. It could lead to EcoCoons on a recycled utility poles. We have to keep an open mind, and solve the little problems. It is interesting. No real foundation needed either. I might try one closer to the ground.

  5. mrs-deane February 13, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Architects designer dwellings like these should perhaps study the treetrunks a bit closer, They are used as highways and throughroutes for many organisms, who will find their way blocked by these constructions. Also, smaller insects will still find their way into the cabins, something which not all tourists might appreciate, but it might be insects that damage the materials used in the interior. Also, I wouldn’t feel to sure about spending the night in one of these when it was storming. All in all, it may look eco and fashionable, it might just be nothing but an architectural folly and vanity.

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