Treehouses have long captured the attention and imagination of Inhabitat readers and writers alike. Recently, the Seattle-based architectural firm Mithun designed a treehouse to capture the imagination of thousands of Boy Scouts in the organization's newest addition to the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Located in Mt. Hope, West Virginia, this new 3,350 square foot educational structure serves as an icon for adventure, innovative building design, and environmental stewardship – and it is known as the Sustainability Treehouse.
The Sustainability Treehouse is a towering 125 feet tall, and it rises amidst the forests of West Virginia with its Corten steel frame and luminous wooden box platforms. It is targeting Living Building Challenge Certification, and it produces and manages all its own energy, water and waste on the site. It was designed with a plethora of green building systems, of which photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, and a water cleansing system are among the most impressive. The treehouse is a celebration of sustainability and innovation, and all visiting Boy Scouts can learn about the sustainable features of the structure by walking through its interactive exhibits.
The Design Team was not limited to just Mithun. The Architect of Record was BNIM, while the Landscape Architect was Nelson Byrd Woltz. Many other collaborators made this building possible, but it was definitely an impressive feat of construction lead primarily by Swope Construction. The Sustainability Treehouse was recently awarded a 2013 Award of Honor for Washington Architecture, alongside another Inhabitat favorite: the Garage by Graypants. Through all of its sustainable design and construction merits, this project is a living classroom above all else, and the design team excelled at playing upon a childhood dream that is prevalent among many in the Boy Scouts’ ranks: building a treehouse.