This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse

April 15, 2019 by  
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With features like a natural ventilation system to cool the home and rainwater collection to supply plumbing, The Hut is completely eco-friendly in addition to being off-grid . There is no access to main electricity or water, so the minimalist structure relies exclusively on solar power. Rather than constructing on top of the building site as most projects do, the architects built the home to harmonize with its surrounding environment. While the sustainable and eco-conscious design is worth commendation alone, The Hut was also born from a unique emotional place as well. Architect Greg Dutton of Midland Architecture wanted to build a quiet retreat in his family’s forested property on their Ohio cattle farm, within an area filled with happy childhood memories of hiking and exploration. The land, which he and his family have owned and operated for 40 years, holds a nostalgic value that helps connect the home with the building site. Related: Eco-friendly “treehouse” in French pine forest boasts surprisingly chic interiors Designed to appear as a treehouse , The Hut is elevated within the trees overlooking a lake through the use of concrete pillars at the edge of a small cliff. The position takes full advantage of exposure from the southern sun, helping to keep the home powered by solar energy. The floor-to-ceiling windows behind the wood-burning stove add to the lofted-in-the-trees effect. Though the natural cedar that tops the roof initially sticks out, with time and weather, the color will blend in perfectly with the surrounding forest. Inside, the floors are made of white pine and the wall/ceiling paneling of yellow pine, an homage to the Scandinavian and Danish architecture style that inspires a cozy atmosphere . The interior utilizes mostly organic light brown and white colors, with touches of black to add natural accents. There is a simple living space that connects to a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. The architect drew inspiration from the rustic and straightforward designs he grew up with in his farming background. + Midland Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Lexi Ribar via Midland Architecture

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This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse

A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites

March 5, 2019 by  
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Milan-based design firm Peter Pichler Architecture has unveiled a conceptual design for a series of gorgeous geometrical treehouses for the lush green forests of the Italian Dolomites. The two-story structures are arranged in a modern, vertical design and clad in sustainably-sourced wood. Each treehouse is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling glazed windows to provide breathtaking views of the surrounding forestscape. According to the architects, the stunning treehouses were designed as an addition to an existing hotel . The inspiration came from wanting to create a serene but modern lodging option that would help guests immerse themselves completely in the surrounding nature. Referring to the inspiration as a “slow down” form of tourism, they explained, “We believe that the future of tourism is based on the relationship of the human being with nature. Well integrated, sustainable architecture can amplify this relationship, nothing else is needed.” Related: Stunning wooden Oberholz Mountain Hut branches out of the mountainside like a fallen tree The project includes vertical, diamond-esque volumes with sharp, steep roofs inspired by the soaring trees in the area. The design also calls for using locally-sourced wood for the cladding, which would be painted jet-black to blend in to the nearby fir and larch trees. Large, floor-to-ceiling glass panels that stretch the length of the structure would allow the guests to feel a constant connection to the amazing views. The unique guest homes would vary in size, ranging from 375 square feet to almost 500 square feet in the larger units. Spanning over two levels connected by an internal staircase, the treehouses would hold the living area with a small reading nook that looks out over the forestscape on the bottom level. The sleeping areas and a small bathroom would be on the upper floor, which would also provide breathtaking views. + Peter Pichler Architects Via Archdaily Images via Peter Pichler Architects

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A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites

Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

March 5, 2019 by  
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Residents of Toledo are fighting back against water pollution in Lake Erie. Residents in the Ohio town voted on a Lake Erie Bill of Rights to help protect the lake from human waste, a move that has been criticized by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). The piece of legislation, dubbed LEBOR, basically gives the lake the same rights as humans. If the measure stands up in court, residents will be able to sue individuals and businesses on behalf of the lake. Citizens in Toledo hope this will cut down on water pollution by empowering people to sue anyone who harms the waters of Lake Erie via pollution . Related: 7 ways to conserve water and reduce your water footprint The measure was passed by an overwhelming majority of residents in Lucas County. Over 61 percent of individuals voted in favor of the new law, while only 38 percent voted against it. Poll numbers indicate that only about 9 percent of eligible voters in the county showed up for the special election . While the measure may help improve the water quality in Lake Erie, the OFBF openly criticized the proposal. The organization’s director, Joe Cornely, released a statement after the vote and argued that residents are going to be the ones who end up fitting the bill for the upcoming legal battles. “We were concerned before and remain concerned that farmers , taxpayers and Ohio businesses are now going to spend a lot of time and money fighting legal that eventually are likely to be thrown out of court,” Cornely shared. The bill of rights measure was originally introduced by activists in 2018, but organizers failed to get it on the ballot. The OFBF claims that outside forces are behind the measure and warn that it opens up too many opportunities for lawsuits, especially against farmers in the area. LEBOR is the first bill of its kind to be passed in the United States. Shortly after the measured was voted in, conservationists praised Toledo citizens for sticking up for the environment and fighting water pollution at one of the state’s most iconic sites. Via Ohio’s Country Journal and Vox Image via NOAA and Counselman Collection

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Water pollution inspires the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to improve water quality

UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for The Smartest Neighborhood in the World

March 5, 2019 by  
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In Helmond’s Brandevoort District in the Netherlands, an exciting new development had boldly declared its plans to become “The Smartest Neighborhood in the World.” Known as the Brainport Smart District (BSD), the tech-savvy and sustainable initiative has taken one step closer to reality thanks to the recently unveiled spatial plans created by a design team led by  UNStudio . To be developed in phases across the span of 10 years, the Brainport Smart District will be a one-of-a-kind, mixed-use neighborhood that will adapt to users’ changing demands. Created in collaboration with Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners, Metabolic, Habidatum and UNSense, the masterplan for the Brainport Smart District includes 1,500 new residences and 12 hectares of commercial space. As a “living lab,” the neighborhood will be centered on a central park and promote a symbiotic relationship between the built environment and the landscape; the natural reserves and green space will be sustainably managed to produce food , energy and water while processing waste and providing wildlife habitat. The latest technologies will also be used to ensure the district’s success, from the application of joint digital data management to revolutionary transport systems. One of the most notable differences between the Brainport Smart District and typical developments is the construction timeline. “Design and construction will go hand-in-hand with step-by-step development,” the press release stated. “This new district aims to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and unique living concept, one which embraces experimentation and ‘learning by doing’. Brainport Smart District and the UNStudio team’s ambition is to develop a framework for urban development that will empower and motivate people and innovation.” Related: UNStudio unveils twisting “Green Spine” high-rise proposal for Melbourne The Brainport Smart District includes an area of 155 hectares — larger than 320 football fields — that gives the development ample room to experiment and grow within a flexible grid that can change depending on the users’ needs. The development welcomes both local and international users open to communal ways of life, whether in shared energy generation or land cultivation. The larger goal of the Brainport Smart District will be to raise the bar for mixed-use development, not only with its sustainable approach to materials, energy and climate adaption, but also with regards to improving biodiversity, human health and economic opportunities . + UNStudio Images by Ploomp

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UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for The Smartest Neighborhood in the World

Flat-pack treehouse offers "extreme wilderness" glamping with a light footprint

February 8, 2019 by  
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British company Tree Tents International has unveiled its most innovative and adaptable glamping structure yet. Meet the Fuselage, a flat-pack treehouse that can be set up almost anywhere, even on the most challenging terrain. Dubbed by the firm as an “extreme wilderness cabin,” the cylindrical dwelling takes inspiration from modern aerospace design for its durable and lightweight structure. Designed with a triple-layer insulated skin, low-voltage radiant heating and a micro wood stove, the solar-powered Fuselage has been precision-engineered for thermal comfort in a wide variety of climate conditions, including the wintry environment of Northern Sweden, where one of Tree Tents’ first Fuselages was installed just a few hundred miles below the Arctic Circle. “I designed the Fuselage to access some pretty extreme environments — allowing people to stay in these amazing locations with a structure that is both lightweight in construction but as tough as old boots,” Fuselage designer Jason Thawley said in a press release. To minimize the environmental impact of the Fuselage, the structures are flat-pack and modular so that no heavy machinery is required onsite for installation. Built from sustainably sourced wood and recycled aluminum , the units can be suspended from trees or mounted on stilted feet without need for large foundations. The firm even uses the waste from the manufacturing process to make camping accessories, such as stools and rucksacks, as part of its commitment to sustainable design. Related: Pinecone-shaped treehouse provides stunning 360-degree views of dense Redwood forest Assembled from a kit, the Fuselage features a fully insulated wood-and-aluminum structural frame with an aluminum outer shell. The interior, which measures 3 by 5 meters, includes quality marine ply hardwood flooring and birch liner as well as a lockable entrance door and double-glazed windows . Each bespoke unit also comes with furnishings and can be upgraded with different custom offerings. The base price for Fuselage starts at £26,000 (about $33,672 USD), not including valued-added tax or installation costs. + Fuselage

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Flat-pack treehouse offers "extreme wilderness" glamping with a light footprint

Pinecone-shaped treehouse provides stunning 360-degree views of dense Redwood forest

December 17, 2018 by  
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Suspended 60 feet above ground in the majestic red wood forest of Bonny Doon, California, this stunning pinecone-shaped treehouse was carefully crafted to let guests reconnect with nature. Designed by builder Dustin Fieder of O2 Treehouse , the Pinecone, which is listed on Airbnb , is clad in multiple diamond-shaped panels carefully layered to create the unique shape. The all-transparent facade provides guests with stunning 360-degree views of the dense tree canopy. Suspended high up in the majestic redwoods, the stunning treehouse is virtually camouflaged into the dense forest just north of Santa Cruz. Guests to the treehouse can access the gorgeous tiny treehouse via a 30 – 60 degree alternating step access ladder. However, the steepness and height of the ladder is not for the faint of heart and there is a harness and ascension safety system for those who would like to take the safer way up. Related: Cozy egg-shaped treehouses offer stunning views of the Italian Alps The entrance to the treehouse is through a trap door. Once inside, the full affect of the beautiful design is breathtaking. Multiple acrylic diamond-shaped panels were carefully crafted to create the pinecone-esque volume. On the interior, there is enough space for a double bed or two singles, both of which sit under a glass ceiling that provides the perfect opportunity to star gaze before drifting off to sleep. Guests can then enjoy the morning experience of filtered sunlight streaming through the transparent facade in the morning. A catwalk bridge leads to the bathroom, which is housed in a mini treehouse structure on the ground. The wooden interior features a hot shower, composting toilet and sink. Again, a large glass window offers expansive views of the forest, letting guests continuously immerse themselves in the incredible surroundings at every step. The Pinecone Treehouse is available to rent at Airbnb for just under $300 a night. Guests are advised to bring cold-weather gear. + O2 Treehouse Via Designboom Photography via Garna Raditya and Alissa Kolom via O2 Treehouse

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Pinecone-shaped treehouse provides stunning 360-degree views of dense Redwood forest

A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior

November 1, 2018 by  
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The sustainable builders at ArtisTree are known for creating some seriously beautiful and green structures. The company has just unveiled a charming treehouse located in a remote eco-retreat in Texas. Perched 25 feet in the air between two cypress trees, the Yoki Treehouse is an exceptional example of the company’s artistry and deep respect for nature. Located in central Texas, the Yoki Treehouse is Austin’s first treehouse resort at Cypress Valley. Designed to be a luxury retreat, the  treehouse sits 25 feet above a creek, which served as the inspiration for the design and name (Yoki is the Hopi Native American word for rain). According to Will Beilharz, founder of ArtisTree, “Water is life — one of our most precious resources, and ArtisTree treehouses are designed to let people experience nature’s resources more intimately.” Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home — and you can stay overnight Built with sustainable woods such as elm, cypress and spruce, the treehouse holds court high up within the tree canopy.  The retreat is comprised of a 500-square-foot suspended treehouse and a separate bathhouse, which sits on solid ground. The two buildings are connected by a 60-foot-long suspension bridge with various platforms to provide plenty of open spaces for enjoying the surrounding nature. In the main house, this strong emphasis on nature is apparent at every angle. The entrance is located on the roof, which doubles as an observation platform perfect for enjoying the lush green forest views and the babbling brook. There is also an open-air porch where the branches grow through the floor, further connecting the structure into its environment. Inside, the walls of the treehouse are clad in a warm birch wood, creating a cabin-like aesthetic. Again, an abundance of windows, including an all-glass front wall, allows guests to reconnect with nature. The interior design and furnishings were inspired by Japanese minimalism, while touches of Turkish decor add a sense of whimsy. The separate bathhouse was built with solitude in mind. It features a spa-like atmosphere, complete with a large Onsen-style soaking bathtub. Ample floor-to-ceiling windows offer guests a serene spot to enjoy a bit of bird watching or stargazing. + ArtisTree Via Dezeen Photography by Smiling Forest via ArtisTree

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A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior

Treehaus combines contemporary design and passive energy in the Utah forest

August 14, 2018 by  
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If you were lucky enough to have a treehouse as a child, you understand the thrill of having the wonders of nature at your fingertips instead of admiring them from afar. Now you can live every day in that wonderland in a home just put on the market in Summit Park, Utah. Treehaus, a beautiful passive house from Park City Design + Build , blends into the nearby forest, allowing residents to return to nature in an energy-efficient setting. With three diverse levels strategically stacked on top of each other among a pine grove, the home’s black cedar cladding makes for a low profile against the lush greenery. The simple, efficient lines of the exterior design veil a surprisingly roomy 3,643-square-foot interior. In stark contrast to the home’s exterior, the interior features austere white walls in every room, complemented by light oak floors. Black stair rails, fixtures and trim provide dramatic contrast and exposed stainless steel ceiling beams illuminate the ashen palette. Related: Stay in a dreamy treehouse inside an ancient English forest The sprawling, open floor plan includes four bedrooms, four baths, and an oversized kitchen with expansive counters, cabinets and a large island that serves double-duty as an informal eating hub. Custom staircases separate the three levels. The top story houses the home’s main suite, which nestles gently into the forest’s green foliage. Two decks attached to the front of the house and a terrace in the back make communing with nature easy. Additional balconies beckon off the other three bedrooms and first floor kitchen and living room. + Park City Design + Build Images via Kerri Fukui/City Home Collective

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Treehaus combines contemporary design and passive energy in the Utah forest

Aging Portuguese granary transformed into a serene sanctuary in the trees

January 29, 2018 by  
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The Dovecote-Granary in Portugal is a temple in the trees where people can reconnect with nature and themselves. The simple structure stands on the granite foundation of what was once a 19th-century maize granary. Tiago do Vale Arquitectos took cues from traditional local architecture while reconstructing the rotting building as a place of serenity and contemplation. The structure combines three vernacular typologies: granary, dovecote, and drying shed. It is built out of oak wood in the same style as the granaries that stood there for centuries. Sadly, the wood of the granaries had rotted beyond salvage, so the architects documented the existing structure and re-constructed it out of fresh wood. By documenting the original building in its entirety, as well as the building techniques used in its construction, the architects managed to successfully re-create the building stronger than it was originally, while preserving its spirit and giving it new life. Related: Salima Naji’s Preservation of Sacred Moroccan Granary Sites Nominated for Aga Khan Award With farming disappearing from the area, the original function of the structure became obsolete. This prompted its current use as a kind of temple, a sanctuary among the tree canopies, and an iconic shape in the rural landscape of the Minho region. The architects reconstructed the two granaries on the original foundation to act as the walls of the new building and topped them with a dovecote, while the interior re-creates the traditional drying shed. + Tiago do Vale Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Photos by João Morgado

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Aging Portuguese granary transformed into a serene sanctuary in the trees

Y-shaped German hostel looks at sustainability from all angles

January 29, 2018 by  
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A newly opened youth hostel in Bayreuth, Germany offers much more than just a clean bed and shower—the 180-bed Y-shaped building embraces community, holistic sustainability, and a passion for sports. Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) designed the hostel as an extension of the landscape with natural materials and a curvaceous form that’s organic and contemporary. Commissioned by DJH Bayern, the eye-catching youth hostel takes on a distinctive Y shape chosen “because it cleverly generates a connective central space and interweaves the interior and exterior spaces, offering expansive views and multiple accessible openings to the sports fields and gardens.” Sports are a major focus of the design and the hostel is equipped with sports fields, adventure playgrounds and volleyball terraces. The building’s universal design makes it accessible to all kinds of users for optimum use of the facility. Related: Nha Trang’s first hostel built from recycled shipping containers pops up in Vietnam A central atrium at the heart of the hostel serves as the social hub with a light-filled amphitheater that branches out to the reception, seminar rooms, bistro, kitchen, sport facilities, and bedrooms spread out across two floors. Natural, locally sourced materials are used throughout and were built with local techniques. Renewable energy powers the hostel and pollution reduction is integrated in the design. A highly flexible modular wooden wall system with modular custom built-in furniture was used for the hostel’s 45 rooms. The use of modular, replaceable walls also allows for future reuse of the building as a kindergarten, school or retirement home. + Laboratory for Visionary Architecture Images by HN?fele Huber

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Y-shaped German hostel looks at sustainability from all angles

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