MIT students take a holistic view of the possibility of growing homes from trees
The modern-day tree house comes with higher expectations. No longer can it rely on pure fantasy -- it now has to look modern and make a serious green statement.
"My vision is modern, but equally escapist,” says Andreas Wenning, the architect behind the Baumraum tree house.
The German architect’s range of modern wood and glass tree houses cost as little as £14,000 and take approximately two months to construct.
“I didn't want to create something that looked like a Hobbit's home, with cute forest creatures carved into the door handles,” he says.
“There are plenty of companies who already specialise in that.”
The pods are made of weather-resistant oak or larch wood, and are supported by flexible fabric belts and metal legs that can hold the weight without fixing the house to the tree so that the buildings appear to float among the tree branches.
Wenning has designed Baumraums all over the world and the prices range from £14,000 to £100,000.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US has gone a step further with Fab Tree Hab, still in concept stage, which explores the possibility of growing homes from trees.
The brainchild of the Human Ecology team at MIT, and conceived by Mitchell Joachim, Lara Greden, and Javier Arbona, Fab Tree Hab uses prefabricated Computer Numeric Controlled reusable scaffolds to graft the living structure into shape. Trees are then woven to create the load-bearing structure.
The trees are then directed to grow in the 'correct' form using computer generated 3D templates.
Interior clay or straw composites, finished with a layer of smooth clay, insulate and provide a moisture barrier.