The tree house, a new ecological residence?
Building a treehouse, a childhood dream for some, sometimes materialized with a few planks, strong ropes and a happy spirit. But between the tender and modest children's huts made at the bottom of the garden in a few hours and the modern homes built in the middle of the forest for several months, there is a gap. True technological feats, these “cabins” are in fact for some, real houses suspended on several floors, all equipped and offered for rent, or even dedicated to private residences. And even if living in the heart of nature does not necessarily mean living in an ecological way, tree houses are indeed at the forefront of sustainable development.
Living in trees: ecology and lightness
If the idea of building a treehouse can be considered adventurous, romantic, daring or even crazy, in any case the realization must respect a number of pragmatic imperatives. In the first place, a cabin actually built on trees (excluding the case of structures on stilts, resting directly on the ground) depends entirely on the latter, or even on just one in the case of a powerful tree such as the oak or redwood. This parameter implies ensuring the good health of the supporting tree (s), which although pruned to make room for the hut, must be able to continue to live. Thus, it is the hut that depends entirely on the tree, and is therefore destined… To rise several centimeters in altitude every year!
The other essential parameter of a tree house is its lightness. So no need to think about concrete; wood and aluminum are the most suitable building elements, moreover being ecomaterials par excellence. In addition to being light, wood is the flagship material for ecological work and sustainable development. Greenhouse gas sensor, recyclable, insulating and robust, wood also lends itself easily to all imaginable fantasies, particularly useful in the case of tree houses. Douglas fir, well known for its lightness and aesthetics, is one of the most widely used species. Here too, the thermal insulation of the home is supplemented by eco-materials, which are distinguished by their very low carbon footprint and their lightness: cork, linen, cellulose wadding, or even hemp wool. For the more adventurous tenants, in winter the best equipped cabins even have solar panels for heating.
Luxury in the trees
The final result varies greatly depending on the nature of the land, the species of trees, and the uses of the cabin. This can take the form of a small and charming structure for two to three people two meters above the ground, but also gigantic houses and even hotels nearly 20 meters in height, spanning more than 100 m². The dwellings then have all the usual comforts of ground-floor houses: bathroom with WC, shower, bathtub and even sauna and jacuzzi for the most luxurious; kitchen, heating, TV and internet. Without forgetting the essential access to the cabin, which goes from the sports ladder to the comfortable spiral staircases.
Many companies now offer the rental of tree houses for one-off stays, or even the development of private residential dwellings. Several great architects and designers have embarked around the world in the realization of original cabins, whose appearance and shapes depend only on the imagination and the predisposition of the land. The examples across the world are all more explosive than the next. In the north of Sweden, in the middle of the boreal forest in Harads, the Treehotel offers its customers a whole range of cabins: The Bird's Nest , a gigantic bird's nest housed in the heart of the fir trees; The Cabin , a long, container-shaped capsule, attached to just two trees and providing the sensation of levitation; The Mirror Cube , an ultra-light aluminum structure, equipped with reflective mirrors making it invisible - but with an infrared filter only perceptible by birds to avoid collisions.