Treehouse Hotel by Dass

It’s about time someone came up with the concept of the Treehouse Hotel. This temporary structure, perched upon and within and between the multiple bowers of Lisbon’s shady Jardim de Estrela park, realizes every child’s dream: a house amid the trees. To my knowledge, only one figure has previously postulated and acted upon the notion of using a living framework of trees to create a permanent human habitat, and he was the fictional Cosimo di Rondo, namesake of Italo Calvino’s great novel The Baron in the Trees.

Treehouse Hotel. Designed by Dass.

Dass’s Treehouse, to the contrary, is very real, though it is temporary. Built for Lisbon’s Experimenta Design—a two-month-long “international Biennale dedicated to design, architecture and creativity”—the Treehouse intends to open up dialogue about the hows, whys, and wheres of building, including the entrenched concept of the city. Beginning discussion of the above by reminding us that more than half of the worlds 6.5 billion inhabitants live in cities (and that number grows by about one million a week), Dass engages the notion of the sustainable city by posing a compromise: build/live situations that make use of natural urban spaces. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’d recommend a network of tree-bound forts throughout Central Park, but it does mean that we need to re-think the traditional constraints of the city: “in Lisbon there are several natural environments which have survived years of occupation and disorganized economic interests. Of all, the Jardim da Estrela is a space that fits perfectly to this event, the cozy scale, the central position, the existing infrastructure…”


The Treehouse Hotel is a living example of a sustainable, cost-effective, alternative to traditional building, and it has the additional boon of being, well, a treehouse, “a magical place, a romantic hideaway in nature: micro spaces that are placed between the trees to play, work, relax or dream!” Admittedly, Dass seems to have let the romance of the notion supplant the pragmatic implications. Even so, the very public presentation of a low-cost, low-impact, and lovely living alternative (the Treehouse, which includes a toilet, sink, sofa/bed and rooftop terrace, is available for nightly rental through November 8) is likely to get architects, designers, engineers, civil officials, and civilians talking about how and why we live the way we do, and whether or not we’re ready for substantial change.

Via Designboom

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