Mirror Mirror on the Tree

February 25, 2010 by

The Swedish architectural firm, Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, has conjured up a concept for a shelter up in the trees: a light-weight aluminium structure hung around a tree trunk, a 4×4x4m box clad in mirrored glass. How cool this would be in the city!

It’s essentially a treehouse for two people including a large bed,  small kitchenette and bath, a living room, and roof terrace. I love that the mirrored exterior reflects the surroundings and the sky, creating a camouflaged refuge. From the interior, constructed of of plywood,  wrap-around windows offer a 360 degree view of the surroundings.

To prevent birds from crashing into the structure, an ultraviolet color only visible to birds would be screen printed on the laminated glass. It’s a cool concept for sure, but here’s the part I’m not sure about: access to the cabin is by rope ladder or rope bridge. I’m pretty fit and consider an interesting challenge, but as an alternative, I wonder if they could build a spiral staircase that would fit ecologically and aesthetically but also be more conducive to the general public. Or are these guys… barking up the wrong tree?

  • As a writer, I would LOVE this for a retreat–but I do wonder if your idea for a staircase wouldn’t better suit me. And then there’s lugging up a laptop.

  • While this is beautiful, this strikes me as an awful idea for wildlife. I imagine countless birds flying into it.

  • Where is the toilet (or do you just open the hatch and hope that no one is trying to climb up the ladder below!)? Also, I assume that there is no running water or electricity, so a pulley system to help you get any water or other comforts such as food or oil lamps or bed linens up the tree might be helpful. And at least one of the windows would have to be removable to get the furniture into it, unless they are built-in or put in before because they certainly won’t fit through the hatch! Otherwise it is a neat idea. Who hasn’t always wanted a grown-up tree house? It is really beautiful with it’s reflections and simple form contrasting to the organic nature of the tree. We thought it was an art sculpture when we saw the first picture before reading the text!

  • That’s a really awesome looking tree house. I’m really curious, though, how it is attached to the tree? I believe the whole trick of engineering a tree house is making sure the tree can continue to grow & sway over the years. A structure like this fully encircles the trunk at floor and roof and I’m curious what those attachment points look like. Any idea?

  • Robin Plaskoff Horton

    Jamie–I don’t know that there is a toilet, your comment made me laugh! I think it’s just a whimsical little retreat, more of a concept? And Tree House Blogger, good question about the engineering–you might want to contact the designers directly and talk technical? This is why I love showcasing things like this–they provoke thought and inspire controversy! Ah, I love the blogosphere.

  • The trees tend to fall down on a windy day even without a house built on them… And this house doesn’t look like making the tree more stable — 16m² more to catch the wind force.

  • cool idea anyway 😀

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