As a young child (or perhaps even an adult) who hasn’t dreamed of living tree houses? Some structures are built on trees or hung from trees, but some unusual tree house building designs are even grown from trees or built right into a tree. Some people live in trees as a luxury, some to help save the environment and others out of tradition or necessity. Here are ten incredible tree house designs that range from functional to fanciful, sustainable to strange and affordable to incredibly expensive.
Baumraum treehouses blends classic notions of a simple wood structure in a tree with modernist angles, clean lines and other design elements. These both blend with and stand out from their natural environs and are customized to client wishes before being installed. The Baumraum group is both experimental and experienced, wish expertise in tree types, capabilities and environmental impact.
The mobile, durable and somehow fanciful Free Spirit Spheres can be hung from anything from trees to buildings and rock faces. Webbing and ropes literally and metaphorically anchor these spheres to their locations. Just four anchor points are needed to carry the entire weight of the spheres. Each sphere is waterproof and impact-resistant, composed of an internal laminated wood frame and clear fiberglass exterior.
The 4Treehouse by Lukasz Kos floats like a “Japanese lantern on stilts” and is situated to accommodate four existing trees on the site. As with the best tree house designs, this project successfully worked around the existing natural site conditions. The three-story house itself rents suspended from these four primary site trees.
The TreeHouse Workshop is a Seattle-based company that takes the art of constructing tree houses extremely seriously. They build an average of one tree house per month and hire extremely able builders and carpenters to construct their projects. Their finished works vary in luxury but some even include (counterintuitive!) fireplaces.
The 02 Sustainability Tree House defies many of the conventions one associates with a typical tree house. The paradigm of a square shack-like wooden structure is replaced with a light and spacious geodesic dome structure that requires very little (and eco-friendly) material and has minimal impact on trees in which it is placed (hanging from cables rather than bolted to trees). It is designed for residential, meditation and meeting functions.
Of course, not all tree houses are avante garde examples of design and sustainability – some people live in far more traditional tree houses such as the tree dwellers shown in the photographs above. In the jungles of the Brazza River Basin in the Indonesian province of Papua the local tribes have slowly built their way up into the trees to escape pests and one another. Their residences now reach dizzying heights of over 100 feet.
This amazing Vietnamese tree house structure is a “tree house” in an entirely unconventional sense of the phrase and draws tourists and guests from around the world. Of course not just anyone can get permission to build a house like this: it helps to be the daughter of the ex-president of the country. Tourists are even able to stay in the rooms overnight.