These Tree Houses in the Dolomites Look Like Egg-Shaped Pinecones

These Tree Houses in the Dolomites Look Like Egg-Shaped Pinecones

By Michele Koh Morollo
In the woods of Malborghetto Valbruna in the Italian Dolomite commune of Tarvisio is a pair of egg-shaped tree houses that appear to hover in midair, like fruit of the forests.

Named Pigna tree houses, the structures were created by Tarvisio-based architect Claudio Beltrame in collaboration with DomusGaia, an Italian firm that manufactures wooden prefabricated homes

The tree houses were first developed for an architectural competition in 2014, but later became part of a Tarvisio mountain farmhouse retreat called Malga Priu and are now available for holiday rentals through sustainable vacation rental agency Ecobnb

Inspired by the shape of pinecones, the tree houses' frames are made with cross-laminated Xlam timber with wooden fiber insulation. Larch wood shingles are used to create a cladding around the egg-shaped exteriors, creating a pine-like texture. 

Approximately 28 feet tall, each compact, 377-square-foot tree house is raised about 33 feet off the ground. 

The living areas are spread across three levels and connected by wooden stairs. Curved windows with 360-degree views and sliding doors on the first level, along with two sheltered balconies on the second level, frame spectacular Alpine views. 

Each structure is anchored to the trees that surround it, and both levels of each house can be accessed via a walkway or outdoor stairs. The first level also includes a panoramic sheltered terrace. 

The living room, kitchen, bathroom, and balconies are located on the second level. 

The third level includes a domed bedroom with a skylight right above the double bed at the top of the structure. 

"The project started from the desire to create a structure that's not only a refuge, but also a natural element of its environment—a mimesis of its surroundings," says Pigna's architect Beltrame. 

Project Credits: 

- Architecture: Architetto  Beltrame Claudio

- Builder: DomusGaia 

- Structural engineer: Loris Borean 

- Collaborators: Luca Beltrame, Gabriele Pascutti  

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