written by:
July 12, 2012

Symbolic of both blissful childhood and the threshold between humanity and nature, tree houses hold a unique position in the world of modern architecture and design. We take a look at some of the tree houses from Dwell's past that inspire us to compile childlike imagination and adult creativity into one balanced and complete package. Hopefully you'll be inspired, too.

 

Maintaining the tree house has been a rather simple job. "It gets somewhat slick when it rains but it's holding up well," Laurie says. Besides brushing off leaves in the fall, there's little other work to do.<p></p>Photograph courtesy of Laurie Stubb.
This tree house, for lack of a better name, comprises two eight-foot-by-eight-foot platforms that create two floors. The lower one is accessed by a ramp and the upper one by a wooden ladder. The structure is screened with bamboo, placed in close proximity to one another on the front and spaced wider and wider apart as they wrap around the sides to the back. "The idea was to screen the view of the driveway in the front," owner Laurie Stubb says, "but when you're inside, you don't want to feel like you're in a box. You want to feel like you're in the woods and see out." Read more about this grounded tree house here.
Originally appeared in Baltimore Tree House
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Eighteen-foot-long ribs run from top to bottom to form the treehouse's struts. The floor package runs into the ribs and creates a triangle, which negated the need for more structural support. During construction, Allen broke one of the long ribs but rathe
Former software engineer Joel Allen designed this modest 200-square-foot retreat in Whistler, British Columbia, to include loft sleeping quarters, an outdoor deck (with views of the snow-capped Tantalus range), and a work area tucked behind the stairs. The siding is recycled cedar wood. Allen's ability to create something that simultaneously stands out and blends into its surroundings is nothing short of incredible. Read more about the construction process behind this special "egg" here.
Originally appeared in Dream Hatcher
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Treehotel owners Britta Jonsson Lindvall and Kent Lindvall enlisted six designers to create the 13-by-13-foot Mirrorcube, a reflective glass cube built around the trunk of a pine. It blends into the surrounding forest so well that the architects plan to cover it with a transparent ultraviolet film to alert flying birds, so they won't smash into it. Click here to see the interior and other modern tree house designs.
Originally appeared in Swedish Treehouse Fantasy
3 / 7
Located on New Zealand's north island, the lofted Yellow Treehouse Restaurant rests in a redwood tree 30 feet above the ground. Designed by Pacific Environments Architects, the slatted structure holds a full bar and up to 18 guests. It can now be rented out for private events. Read more about this unique piece of Auckland here.
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“I kept pushing the idea of doing a new kind of tree house further and further, trying to find the best structure, the best materials,” explained Dustin Feider, a then 23-year-old freelance furniture designer. “Then I finally figured it out.” What Feider determined was that instead of trying to build a traditional “box” tree house, he could use less material and construct a more stable structure if he made a geode
sic dome—a mini Epcot in the sky. This peculiar structure in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, sits 45 feet above the ground in a poplar tree. Click here to see how to enter this floating orb.
5 / 7
While most tree houses have a trunk running vertically, this structure floats above the tree, suggesting the delicate tension between nature and the built environment. Serving as an inhabitable sculpture—a refuge, a gallery and a guest cottage—it's perched atop a hill and overlooks canyon vistas, downtown Los Angeles, and the Getty Center. Designed by Rockefeller Partners Architects, the plan took eight months to complete. We think it was worth the wait. See the rest of the tree house here.
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This levitating structure known as "4 Treehouse" resides comfortably above the forest floor in Lake Muskoka, Ontario, a product of Lukasz Kos, a Toronto-based designer and cofounder of the architecture firm Testroom. At the base of the tree, a staircase rolls on casters upon two stone slabs, allowing occupants to enter and exit regardless of how much the tree house may be swaying or rocking 
in the wind. And yes, it is most definitely from the future. Click here to see how 4 Treehouse attained its suspended appearance.
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Maintaining the tree house has been a rather simple job. "It gets somewhat slick when it rains but it's holding up well," Laurie says. Besides brushing off leaves in the fall, there's little other work to do.<p></p>Photograph courtesy of Laurie Stubb.
This tree house, for lack of a better name, comprises two eight-foot-by-eight-foot platforms that create two floors. The lower one is accessed by a ramp and the upper one by a wooden ladder. The structure is screened with bamboo, placed in close proximity to one another on the front and spaced wider and wider apart as they wrap around the sides to the back. "The idea was to screen the view of the driveway in the front," owner Laurie Stubb says, "but when you're inside, you don't want to feel like you're in a box. You want to feel like you're in the woods and see out." Read more about this grounded tree house here.

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