36 Exterior Treehouse Building Type Design Photos And Ideas

Inspired by the principle of Biomimicry, Free Spirit Spheres’ goal is to “create new ways of living that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.” Based outside of Vancouver, the company specializes in tiny spherical tree houses that are works of art. You can even book an escape to spend the night in one at their forest hotels!
Japanese architect Takashi Kobayashi of the Tree House People has been declared a “tree house master” by Design Made in Japan. Seamlessly integrating nature and design, this tiny tree house is certainly not just for children.
The Treehouse, also part of the Post Ranch Inn, features Cor-ten panels.
Scale was an important design factor. "We wanted it to be flexible," Laurie says. "It's scaled down for a child but is also tall enough so an adult can walk in it." The height between the floor of the lower platform and its ceiling is six feet—so taller adults do still need to duck slightly, but most can make it through. "Kids are small for a very short time and then they grow up and go to college and you're left with this structure," she says. "We wanted it to have a use after they're gone." Pictured here is Laurie and Peter's daughter Emily.Photograph courtesy of Laurie Stubb.
A mere 172 square feet, the treehouse in the hills of Brentwood in Los Angeles was designed by Rockefeller Partners Architects, Inc. as a refuge, gallery and guest cottage
The Sustainability tree house is home base for the National Scout Jamboree, a weeklong event that's usually held every four years. The 2013 event was the first held at the new location in the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Seattle-based firm Mithun led the multidisciplinary team that worked on the project. BNIM is the architect of record, Nelson Byrd Woltz masterminded the landscaping, the structural engineering is by by Tipping Mar, and the exhibit design is by Volume, Inc. and Studio Terpeluk.
Visitors learn about energy and water conservation as they climb outdoor staircases that lead from the forest floor to the 125-foot-high rooftop rising above the leaf canopy. Photo by Joe Fletcher.
Mithun wanted to engage the scouts with all elements of the forest: the floor, the canopy, and a perspective above the tree tops. In one of the viewing rooms, visitors get the feeling of being fully surrounded by leaves.
The structure's mission is to teach visitors about the environment and sustainability. San Francisco–based studio Volume designed the exhibition program, which offers interactive displays about water conservation, energy use, recycling, and more.
Visitors scale a series of outdoor staircases that wind their way up the structure. Volume and Studio Terpeluk turned the risers into a teaching moment about energy use and the impact of every day activities.
Mithun designed the tree house so that it would tread lightly on the land. The firm originally considered prefabricating the entire structure offsite but, in the research process, concluded that craning large modules into place would potentially harm the canopy. A combination of a bolted-together prefab structure and site-built wood housing yielded the least intrusive construction option. 

The Summit Bechtel Reserve is located in West Virginia's coal mining country. The architects looked to the local structures—bridges, mining apparatus, and other industrial buildings—to inform the tree house's design. A 166-ton Cor-Ten steel megastructure supports the 125-foot-tall building. The use of regionally appropriate materials, like steel and black locust wood, was important to the architects.
The polycarbonate interior is bounded by an exterior band of reclaimed white-cedar siding, open to the sky.
John Milich fabricated the slide in the freestanding treehouse.
Davis worked with contractor Ted Timmer to construct the playhouse on her family’s 30-acre property.
The Playa Viva tree house by ArtisTree
The Playa Viva tree house by ArtisTree
The Playa Viva tree house by ArtisTree
The Playa Viva tree house by ArtisTree
The Lofthaven tree house by ArtisTree
The Willow & Juniper tree house by ArtisTree
The Willow & Juniper tree house by ArtisTree
The Willow & Juniper tree house by ArtisTree
The three-story Blue Lake Retreat is located in Marble Falls, Texas. The residence was designed by Lake Flato Architects to integrate naturally into the steep topography. With living spaces on the top floor and four bedrooms on the two lower floors, the timber structure is connected to the hillside by a bridge and boasts a cantilevered deck that floats just above the lake.
Metaphorically, architect Chris Kempel said, the Kynar-painted steel columns are trees.  “It was like taking a box and poking it with chopsticks.”
The treehouse is perched on a hill that offers canyon vistas and views of downtown L. A. and the Getty Museum.
Ethan Schussler built his first tree house at 12 years old. His today, in Sandpoint, Idaho, sits 30 feet above the ground and is accessed, if not by the rope ladder, an “elevator” consisting of a bicycle that, when pedaled, ascends a pulley system to the top.
Radamés “Juni” Figueroa lived in his art project tree house, made from found materials, for two fortnights, as part of his artist residency at La Practica at Beta-Local. "The Practice" is an interdisciplinary program of research and production focusing on art, architecture, and design, with an emphasis on collaboration.
@sticks.and.bricks: it's #treehouse season! please excuse me while I go #playintheyard.
This tree house in Sweden with a mirrored exterior by Tham and Videgård Arkitekter is just large enough to host two people.
Estate Bungalow in Matugama, Sri Lanka, by Narein Perera as published in Cabins (Taschen, 2014).
“This was really a parameter-driven project,” explains Lukasz Kos, a Toronto-based designer and cofounder of the architecture firm Testroom. “That is, I had to let the trees decide how the tree house would be.”

What the trees decided, apparently, was that they wanted a gracefully slender, Blade Runner–like elevator lodged between them. They also decided they didn’t want to be too mutilated in the process. Kos responded to their needs with the low-impact 4Treehouse, a lattice-frame structure that levitates above the forest floor of Lake Muskoka, Ontario, under the spell of some witchy architectural magic.

He created this effect by suspending the two-ton, 410-square-foot tree house 20 feet above the ground with steel airline cables. With only one puncture hole in each of the four trunks into which the cable is anchored, the trees get away almost entirely unscathed, and the structure attains the visual effect of being suspended weightlessly in midair. 

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. Solid plywood walls punctuated by a floor of red 

PVC constitute the “opaque” base story, which is largely protected from the outside elements. “The idea was to have the tree house open up as it gained elevation,” explains Kos. The second story is surrounded by a vertical lattice frame, allowing for breezes, air, and light to filter softly through walls while still establishing a visual perimeter between outside and inside space. At top, the tree house is completely penned in, a suspended patio with a ceiling of sky.  br> br>Photo by Lukasz Kos.
To reduce the load of the trees and minimize the building's impact on the forest, 12 columns support the cabin. One tree stretches up through the net, emphasizing the connection to the outdoors.
Connected to the main house by a narrow bridge, a three-story cedar tower with a sauna at its base recalls a tree house. The screened-in second level includes a table and chairs for enjoying an outdoor meal, while a swing on the tower’s top level provides a perch to take in the surrounding birch trees.

Zoom out for a look at the modern exterior. From your dream house, to cozy cabins, to loft-like apartments, to repurposed shipping containers, these stellar projects promise something for everyone. Explore a variety of building types with metal roofs, wood siding, gables, and everything in between.

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