WAN AWARDS Project of the Week
In conjunction with our brand new WAN Small Spaces Award we are pleased to present the Urban Treehouse project by Baumraum.
From the architect:
The Urban Treehouse is a family project and is based on the initiative of the grandfather Hans-Joachim and his grandson Kolya, who ultimately brought the project into action. It was conceived as an experiment and a research project for a new, nature-loving construction and housing. It’s open to friends and guests of the family, students and people interested in architecture to serve as an inspiration and haven.
The client Kolja Stegemann approached Baumraum with the idea to implement in the urban environment of Berlin tree houses; we were very impressed. Tree houses are associated with a rural or very natural environment. In Berlin you will find many small alternative projects which often occupy the niches with low budgets in the city and we as planners were looking forward to this task in order to contribute to this tradition within the architectural culture of Berlin.
The Zehlendorf district is characterized by gutbürgerlich embossed houses with larger plots of land and gardens. Here you will find only a few of the multi-storey residential buildings that are expected from many other parts of the city. The special quality of the building site is its favorable location. Directly adjacent to a forest, it is very close to the beautiful lakes Krumme Lanke and Schlachtensee.
The tree houses cover a relatively small portion of the property so it was not the usual requirement to utilize the last available space available. Of course, the preservation of the trees on the 650 sq m large garden property was the highest concern of the client.
After various design studies, two cubic units were designed, each with 21 sq m for execution. Both houses float on a pedestal 4m in height and come with a covered outdoor area at the same level and a lower terrace at 2.6m. In one of the tree houses the intermediate level and the two flights of stairs on flexible mountings are supported by an oak tree. These interconnect with a larch slats base, the supply lines and storage space for garden equipment and waste.
The load-bearing structure, the supports and the frame above it consist of galvanized steel profiles. The walls, ceiling and floor are made of solid, prefabricated five layer slabs of spruce. The advantage of this design lies in its physical construction and ecological qualities. The solid wood components have high quality insulation, breathable, large heat storage capacity and can be installed easily and quickly. The ventilated façade is made of aluminium composite panels whose brushed surfaces were mounted in vertical and horizontal directions. As the light shifts throughout the day, this results in a lively play of colors on the exterior of the houses.
The interior offers everything you need in life: one bathroom with shower and a respective light-flooded interior with kitchenette, plus a comfortable bed and some nice accessories. The solid spruce panels were left visible in natural form in the wall and ceiling surfaces.
The Urban Treehouses are places that invites you to play, take time to think or to change your perspective; a place of inspiration and gathering strength. The two tree houses are located exactly at the transition from city to nature, thus connecting both worlds - the vibrant Berlin with the relaxing nature.
Hans-Joachim Stegemann died shortly before the start of construction due to old age so he unfortunately did not see the completion of the tree houses and the continuation of his idea to build something unusual on his property. These buildings are dedicated to him and his wife. We thank him and his grandson Kolya very much for this great project.