Book Review / Tree Houses

Tree Houses 9781626363021lowres
The cover of Tree Houses, edited by Loft Publications.

I dare you to leaf through this hefty collection of tree house designs from around the world and not find one that you wouldn’t like to hide out in for at least a few hours, if not a few days. With no introduction and just a few sentences to describe each project, you might think that Tree Houses is strictly eye candy. But what will appeal to architects, designers, and their clients, is that scattered among the beautifully shot images are construction photos, sketches, floor plans, elevations, cross-sections, and in some cases even axonometric views.

The editors have divided the book into three sections: Nests and Pods, Tree Forts and Playhouses, and Hideouts. Nests and Pods are mostly lower in budget, and replicate bird and insect nests that suspend or cling to trees. Tree Forts and Playhouses are the more typical tree house-style structures, and Hideouts are a bit more high-end and resemble smaller versions of larger buildings.

Each project is presented with the project name, designer, location, and a small description, which is printed first in English and then repeated in seven other languages. This was a bit bare for me — I would have also liked to have seen project completion dates and total construction costs included for each project to help put things into perspective.

This book not only made me rethink what a tree house should look like, but how they should be used. Often they are playhouses or cozy guest rooms, but there are also tree houses used as a sauna (in Sweden, obviously), a tea house (Japan), and as symbols of protest against deforestation (Spain and Tasmania). Projects in the U.S. include the Copper Nest, a “party tree house” in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin by fabricator 02 Treehouse and a slatted house in Omaha, Nebraska by Randy Brown Architects that was the result of a summer course where architects worked alongside students.

Overall, I think that if you want to build a tree house or are just fascinated by them, then this is a great book to have around for inspiration. Don’t try to carry it up into a tree house though. This baby weighs in at over seven pounds.

 All images courtesy Skyhorse Publishing.

Tree Houses
Edited by Loft Publications
Skyhourse Publishing
October 2013
511 pages
Hardcover $50.00 U.S., also available as an e-book
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The 4 Treehouse in Walker’s Point, Lake Muskoka, Ontario, Canada by Lukasz Kos. © Lukasz Kos
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The UFO in Harads, Sweden by Bertil Harström/Inredningsgruppen. © Peter Lundstrom, Courtesy of Treehotel.
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The Mirrorcube by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter in Harads, Sweden. © Åke E:son Lindman. Courtesy of Treehotel.

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