Real Trees in Architecture
15 September 2018
The last architectural tendencies aim at ecologically compatible approach, compliance of the balance between a human being and the nature. It is almost the main requirement of customers today to comply with ecological compatibility criteria in building, design, to use natural materials. This tendency originates from a human being’s attempts to comprehend his place in this world over again and to restore the primeval harmony and naturalness. New buildings are tried to be harmoniously introduced into the existing landscape; at the same time, forms of the nature remain virgin as much as possible. We can see trees grown inside a living area, green gardens located on rooves of business-centers more often now. It is the usual thing now to lay out winter gardens, to use “green wall” design method, real moss on the floor and plenty of flowers to decorate private houses. Architects state that “natural trend” will become a separate aesthetic design category in the future. Simplicity, harmony, naturalness are the things which we can learn from the nature, the tings which are deficiencies in the modern world. And so now green plants are applied in design of houses / flats while renovation works. As a result the amazing buildings appear: houses located on trees, houses build around a tree. Natural materials prevail in design, for example, a bathroom made from the stone, furniture, windows, floor made from wood, sanitary engineering made from copper, textile, clay or thatch decoration.
The unique project of young designers – the house built around the tree.
Just imagine that your own tree grows in your house. There are two ways to use such a decoration element. The first one is a very audacious – to design a house in such a way that a mature, strong tree will become a central axis of the building, and its branches will spread over rooms. Such a tree looks very original and unusual. It is important not to damage roots of the tree while laying the foundation and, also, to worry about watering and further care of the plant. Only under these conditions it will rejoice you by its natural warmth and annually changing appearance.
The second variant is to find a place in your house and to put a flowerpot with a tree there or to grow a plant in a specially prepared black earth area. A tree can be decorated with pebbles or real stones as an original green area or can be encircled with a glass cylinder if a plant trunk diameter exceeds a meter; and the tree will be introduced into a house interior in such a manner. Scientists created special sorts of “home trees” which are specified by small root system. These sorts do not require much light and space. Make inquiries from the garden centers in your city, they surely have something to suggest.
The example of a successful application of “a house built around a tree” conception is presented in Kazakhstan. The idea belongs to A. Masov Architects Bureau. It is a large glassed-in terrace with a high fir-tree grown inside. The design is in balance with the existing landscape and it is rather simple itself. The tree performs a number of missions in this project – it is the basis of the construction, a central object of tourists’ attention, and an exclusive interior decoration unit at the same time.
Parisians rejoice tourists in a different way; they decorated Louvre Museum with two-meter height citrus trees planted into big flowerpots. Owing to the fact that plants are constantly located inside the building, they require the extra care: timely pruning, moistening of leaves and watering, as well as, the additional source of day lighting.
Modern Houses Built on Trees.
If it is not succeeded to plant a tree inside a house, it is possible to build a house on a tree itself. It is most likely an exclusive architecture type which can perfectly suit to a hotel, restaurant or observation area.
Here are several examples of successful projects performed on trees.
A big house built on the tree in Belgium; it consists of two parts with the terrace and stairs. The construction is based on metal piles, at that the whole house is built in compliance with all of eco-architectural requirements. The house is used as a business-center and it is destined to inspire businessmen to treat the environment friendly to ecological compatibility.
The Japan children’s playing center is designed by Takashi Kobayashi Architect. “Dragon’s House” is built from trees felled by tsunami in 2011; it is a big joy for local children.
There are many houses-hotels built on trees all over the world. For example, in Sweden there is the whole complex of hotels located on trees. These hotels attract tourists’ attention by the possibility to overnight on tree boughs and to experience new emotions, but they are not architectural values. Five houses with the total area of 150 square meters look quite interesting: Cabin minimalistic hotel, glassy Mirrorcube, Bird’s Net decorated by brushwood, UFO imitating an unidentified flying object and fiery Blue Cone. Each house has its own concept and each one is designed by its own author.
The Birds’ House built in Japan is very interesting. The shape of this building reminds a starling-house, and the idea is that there live one person and many birds in the house. Special cells are made for feathers and a small room with windows is designed for a person, who can observe the life of birds through these windows. The Starling-House inspires love for nature and all living creatures.
The amazing house built on three pine-trees is located near Moscow. La Cabane Perchée French Bureau designed it on Russians’ order. The house has a polyhedral shape and it is based on an oval platform; all elements of the construction are also made from the pine-tree. In the house there are an antiquarian stove, carved furniture, a sofa and other equipment and decoration elements – it means that it is possible to live there the whole year round.
Another house for a teenager is built by Russian Designers. The boy desired to have his own private area and he obtained a room located between trees like a nest. The diameter of the house is about two meters and it is furnished with pillows only – it is a dream of the childhood and a perfect place to seclude oneself.
Owners of Blue Forest English Company consider, that to live on a tree is harmoniously and they build original houses, hotels, restaurants, offices, playing areas all over the world. All projects of adherents of life on a tree are designed in a fantastic style being typical for this trend. Nowadays English Designers work on an observation ground in “Edem” Park in Cornwall. The house is shaped as a nest of a Ploceus bird and it is designed in the manner to enable visitors of a suspended way to take photos and to admire the tropical forest plants which are in abundance in this park.
A House Inside a Tree – the Respect to Roots.
The most known in the world “one log house” is designed in USA by Len Moore Architect. Once, the American was caught unawares with the storm and he sheltered in the trunk of a huge, fallen sequoia. These trees are of very large dimensions and they grow up to one hundred meters in height. Having waited untill the bad weather was over, the traveler decided to arrange the house in the trunk of the tree. It was determined later, that the age of the sequoia was two thousand years. Len built the shelter with a living-room, dining-room, bedroom and even sanitary arrangements for himself from a small part of the trunk with ten meters in length. He also equipped his house with wheels and now the sequoia is mobile and it can move itself. The house-owner had an idea to travel over the world demonstrating his work, however, this idea failed to be realized because of large dimensions of the trunk. In America there is another not so popular sequoia with a small house-hole made inside it.
The natural wonder-tree in Hong Kong – it is a Rubber Plant (Ficus Benghalensis) or Banyan. Huge, aerial roots of the tree reach the ground like a cradle made from boughs of the tree. The tree is very age-old and it is mentioned in ancient chronicles. The precise age of this wonder-tree is unknown, it is only noted, that the house built inside the tree, is more than one hundred years old. A little brick house is enclosed in embraces of huge roots. Now this house is unfit to live in and it is almost ruined. However, architects state that formerly it was a real living house consisted of three rooms. Its walls were double-sheeted and made from bricks; they prevented the house from moisture, heat and cold. The house failed to stand the time test, but the strong banyan is still growing.
Houses built inside real trees – the symbiosis of architecture of a human being and the nature.
Wood is a natural and valuable building material, but, unfortunately, its resources are limited. Baubotanik modern company suggested an innovation method – to combine wood with artificial materials in building process. Resulting from this ecological method, we receive “natural” green houses, we obtain a tree, which continues to fill the air with oxygen, to provide shadow and to become a decoration element; at the same time it remains alive and grows. Ferdinand Ludwig, a German, is the author of the construction “green technology”; he was inspired with the art of topiary sculpture and Japanese bonsai. The Company shapes a plant in such a way that it can be used as a load-carrying structure of a future construction with the help of building timber. Spreading out, the tree strengthens fitted, artificial materials. Certainly, not all types of trees are applicable for such architectural projects. The perfect ones are flexible plants and those which grow quickly, for instance, a plane-tree, poplar, birch and hornbeam.
During last fifteen years Baubotanik completed three important projects based on “houses made from real trees” new technology.
Since 2005 there exists the foot-bridge made from willow trees and metal piles. Young willow plants embraced metal piles and, thus, a promenade area was formed from steel grating based on trunks of “alive” trees.
Another project of the Company is the tower made from willow which height is almost ten meters. The tower structure is temporarily based on the steel scaffolding. When willows, which are the foundation of the tower construction, will get stronger, the steel scaffolding will be removed. Along with the willows growing up, the architects fasten their branches in a cross-wise manner in order to keep the necessary shapes.
The cube built from the plane-tree is the proud of Baubotanik’s innovators; it is the first and unique building designed for the urban environment. The cube is constructed from the real plane-tree and temporary metal structure. The tree grows and it is getting its shape during the long time; as soon as the required shape is achieved, the imitation supports will be removed.
At this stage the green architecture can not substitute the usual living houses made from building materials. These constructions require labor efforts, long time building period and constant maintenance; they are like alive, breathing structures.
Therefore, the opportunity to create such projects of bio-architecture confirms that the symbiosis of the nature and the industrial design is possible.