Too High Teahouse: Completed in Spring, 2004, Terunobu Fujimori, a professor of architecture at the University of Tokyo, built his boyhood dream hideaway in Takasugi-an (Chino, Nagano), a teahouse on stilts, in the bottom of his father’s garden. So said his father when he saw it: “There goes Terunobu, making something wacky again.”
World’s Largest tree house: The halcyon days of our youth where a few 2x4s pounded into an old elm with rusty nails constituted the coolest tree house on the block are not just long dead, but now embarrassingly overshadowed by the richest kid on the street, Lord Northumberland, and his World’s Largest tree house.
Located on the grounds of Alnwick Gardens just 95 miles south of Edinburgh (and next to the Alnwick Castle, the very one used in the Harry Potter films), this 6,000-square-foot tree house leviathan soars 56 feet above the ground and is connected with 4,000-square-feet of suspended walkways. It has a restaurant that seats 120 people as well as classrooms, cafes, turrets, wobbly bridges, and imported wood from all over the world. Oh, and it cost $7 million.
Nescafé Treehouse: This amazing treehouse above was designed by Takashi Kobayashi, one of japan’s leading treehouse creators. This house was designed after an advertising agency in Tokyo, hired him to design a treehouse for a Nescafé commercial now running on Japanese television. Mr. Kobayashi built an oval bird’s nest of a house, 12 feet high and 9 feet in diameter, reached by a circular staircase, and the final price for this tree house was about $38,000. The house is located on a field there owned by the town of Kamishihoro, where it remains an enticing, if off-limits, gift from Nestlé, the makers of Nescafé, to the people of Hokkaido.
Free Spirit Spheres: Free Spirit Spheres can be hung from the trees as shown, making a tree house. They can also be hung from any other solid objects or placed in cradles on the ground. There are four attachment points on the top of each sphere and another four anchor points on the bottom. Each of the attachment points is strong enough to carry the weight of the entire sphere and contents.
The spheres are made of two laminations of wood strips over laminated wood frames. The outside surface is then finished and covered with a clear fibreglass. The result is a beautiful and very tough skin. The skin is waterproof and strong enough to take the impacts that come with life in a dynamic environment such as the forest.
The Dome: This geodesic dome perched in an olive tree uses natural pine, cork and clay for construction in a Spanish ecovillage. Like the Fab Tree Hab, this structure combines the general form of a geodesic dome with the sustainability of an earthship.
O2 Treehouse: Dustin Feider has a different vision for tree houses: one that would be good for the tree, the environment and the deep human need to reconnect with nature and our primordial roots. Through his company, O2 Treehouse, Feider is out to revolutionize not merely treehouses but the entire concept of habitat. All the materials used for the treehouse are entirely recycled – and while the original O2 Sustainability Treehouse is 13 feet wide, interiors and sizes can be customized according to customer specifications.
TreeHouse Workshop: The TreeHouse Workshop is a Seattle-based company that takes the art of constructing tree houses extremely seriously. They build an average of one tree house per month and hire extremely able builders and carpenters to construct their projects. Their finished works vary in luxury but some even include (counterintuitive!) fireplaces.
4Treehouse: The 4Treehouse by Lukasz Kos floats like a “Japanese lantern on stilts” and is situated to accommodate four existing trees on the site. As with the best tree house designs, this project successfully worked around the existing natural site conditions. The three-story house itself rents suspended from these four primary site trees.
Le Lit Perché: Alain Laurens, a former chairman of a major French advertising agency, left his position there in 1999 to found La Cabane Perchée, a Paris-based studio that designs and builds treehouses. The firm’s projects are unusually elegant by treehouse standards, but none so much so as Le Lit Perché, a roomy 42-square-foot bed made from six segments of mattress perched on a red cedar platform within a railing of slender steel cables. Mr. Laurens, 59, built the first one in 2005, 24 feet above the ground at his own country house in Bonnieux, in the South of France, and has since built 12 more for customers. Le Lit Perché, which costs $15,000, “is for people to sleep in trees” without having to spend the money to build an entire treehouse, Mr. Laurens said. It features a pulley system that raises and lowers a basket that can be filled with food, wine or other supplies. For those who find being suspended in mid-air (or completely exposed to the elements) scary, and not conducive to romance, the bed can be placed as low as six feet off the ground.
Everybody’s Treehouse: When Bill Allen builds treehouses, he does not look for the perfect tree, sturdy with thick, embracing limbs and an abundant canopy of leaves. Mr. Allen’s nonprofit company, Forever Young Treehouses in Burlington, Vt., founded in 2002, designs its houses to be accessible to handicapped and chronically ill children, and “the first thing we look for is the ground dropping away” from the start of the access ramp, he said, so that the ramp doesn’t need to climb too high to reach the house. He also likes to build in a grove of trees so the ramp can meander from tree to tree. Everybody’s Treehouse, which cost $450,000 and which Mr. Allen completed in January in the Mount Airy Forest park in Cincinnati, is a typical Forever Young project. Its 160-foot ramp winds among 14 trees (red and white oaks, maples and ash) as it climbs 15 feet to a 2,000-square-foot house with two asymmetrical cedar-shingle roofs that give it a Hansel-and-Gretel look. The structure is made of tongue-and-groove pine boards with an ipê-wood deck and has eight windows; most start 32 inches from the floor, an ideal height for wheelchair occupants. “For a kid in a wheelchair,” Mr. Allen said, “it gives a different perspective of what the world looks like, of what a tree looks like, of what a forest looks like.”