Who doesn’t love a good treehouse? Many of us spent our childhood in humble little forts tacked haphazardly to the branches of a backyard tree, but some people carry the tradition into adulthood with structures that are almost the size and complexity of a standard house. In Norway, a new creation by architecture firm Helen & Hard maintains the plucky spirit of handmade wooden treehouse, but elevates it (literally and metaphorically) into a beautiful modern getaway.
“Woodnest” references the traditional wooden architecture of the area as well as the nests of birds and other woodland creatures. Suspended about 18 feet off the forest floor, the structure attaches to a living pine tree with a steel collar. The architects envision it as a place where visitors can pause to appreciate the smaller details of the natural environments we inhabit as well as the grain of the timber in the treehouse itself.
Measuring just over 160 square feet, “Woodnest” is organized around the central tree trunk, and there’s a lot more to it than you’d imagine at first glance. There are four sleeping areas as well as a bathroom, kitchen and living space to enjoy, along with panoramic windows offering views of the fjord below and the mountains on the other side.
“Stemming from the client’s wish to create a unique spatial experience that connects to both the ordinary and extraordinary sensation of climbing and exploring trees, our aim was to create a space that truly embodies what it means to dwell in nature. The journey to the site begins with the 20minute walk from the town of Odda, on the edge of the fjord and up through the forest via a steep winding path. Each treehouse is accessed via a small timber bridge, leading the visitor off the ground, into the structure and up in to the tree.”
“At the very core of the project is the appreciation of timber as a building material.”
” Inspired by the Norwegian cultural traditions of vernacular timber architecture, together with a desire to experiment with the material potential of wood, the architecture is structurally supported by the tree trunk itself, and formed from a series of radial glu-laminated timber ribs. The untreated natural timber shingles encase the volume creating a protective skin around the building, which will weather over time to merge and blend with the natural patina of the surrounding forest.”
The wooden bridge leading to the treehouse from the path brings a little bit of playfulness to the project. Is it enough to make you want to design your own, or what?