Treehouses hold a special magic. They hint at escape, and an opportunity to transcend the busyness of life; connect with nature. An example of man-made structures that harmonize with the environment, treehouses have inspired architects and designers around the world to build homes and offices that do the same. We’ve rounded up six examples of architecture influenced by treehouse design: four homes, one office, and one tearoom. All are designed around living trees, allowing inhabitants to breathe easy surrounded by greenery.
The living area of this light-filled home in Vietnam centers around a flourishing tree that is large enough for children to climb. The architects at 3 Atelier built this home for their uncle and his family, using materials reminiscent of the parents’ childhood homes. Not only does Uncle’s House inspire kids to engage with nature, they can even grow vegetables in the dirt around its base.
One tree wouldn’t suffice for the Inside Out House by Takeshi Hosaka in Tokyo, Japan. From the outside, the cubic home is simple and modern. Inside, multiple trees and plants bring the outdoors inside. Sliding glass doors offer flexibility, and natural light permeates the home through skylights, creating a serene sanctuary in which humans and cats coexist.
New developments are increasingly crowding out green spaces in the southern part of Hue, Vietnam. So Cong Sinh Architects designed Symbiosis, a peaceful office rooted in the environment in the midst of the bustling city. Expansive windows on both floors of the office overlook a green oasis full of vines and a tree. The shade from the greenery even helps regulate the office temperature.
A. Masow Design Studio unveiled astounding plans for the ultimate treehouse: an entire tree wrapped in a glass facade in Kazakhstan. A spiral staircase would allow the owner to move between four levels, circumnavigating the tree as they moved from floor to floor. The glass allows natural light to stream in and provides an unobstructed view of the surrounding woods.
This cantilevered Echo Park home takes the treehouse concept to new heights. House in the Trees by Anonymous Architects rests on a hillside overlooking Los Angeles, and was carefully constructed so as not to harm neighboring mature cypress trees, one of which extends through a bedroom in the home. Fire-treated Western red cedar siding, reclaimed chestnut floors, and walnut cabinetry add to the woodsy, natural feel of the cozy California dwelling.
A 300-year-old camphor tree in Japan now includes a tiny teahouse nestled among its branches. Bird’s Nest Atami, designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP with the help of Takashi Kobayashi, is part of the country’s largest treehouse. Inspired by how crows utilize coat hangers in nests, Nakamura designed the freestanding teahouse to rest among the 22-meter-tall tree on light structural elements without harming the tree. The earthy interior also includes wood furnishings, inviting tea drinkers to relax in nature.