Who of us didn’t dream of having a treehouse as a kid? They always seemed so cool, the perfect place to plot grand plans, inspired by movies like The Sandlot Kids and Now and Then. Well, those dreams can live on because now you can build a futuristic treehouse in your own backyard.
As part of the H22 City Expo in Helsingborg, Sweden, IKEA hosted a competition for designers to present their interpretation of modern-day outdoor dwellings. Inspired by the COVID pandemic making green spaces an extension of our homes, the design brief required affordable and sustainable materials to be used.
The three finalists and honourable mentions (from more than 60 entries from around the world) were constructed in real-life to create a temporary “forest” alongside Magasin 405, IKEA’s arty look at the future of homes. And because H22 is all about sharing ideas on sustainable housing, the instructions to build these futuristic dwellings are available for free on open source.
That includes finalist Emma Jurczynski’s ‘Tree-House’, a very modern take on the childhood dream.
“Inspired by a childhood dream for a treehouse, this playful structure enables a new relationship with the forest by elevating you into the canopies,” Jurczynski said in her project description.
“Unlike a traditional treehouse, the stand-alone structure does not depend on being fastened to trees, instead, it can be constructed anywhere, in any context.
“Tree-House is a streamlined system built from standardised wood — a cheap, renewable and accessible resource, making it an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable structure.”
So here’s how you build it for yourself:
Fellow finalist Otis Sloan Brittain took his inspiration from the cork forests of Alentejo in Portugal.
“In these forests, you have these trees where they regenerate themselves over time, so the cork is harvested and nine years later, if you don’t harvest it too much, then it grows back,” he explained at the unveiling of the H22 display.
“So the idea of the structure came from if you can imagine you’re just peeling off a piece of this cork, what could you do with that cork to engage with nature, with the surroundings. Then it kind of unfolded from one of the properties of this material is it’s really light, it’s got this very nice acoustic quality, it’s kind of spongy and warm to touch but also waterproof. So how could you use those properties to engage with the forest?
“And so this led to this module structure which could be configured in all these different ways — it’s kind of configured in this little enclosure here but you could make a loop or your could make a bit more of an expressive structure, or maybe try and float down a river on it. It’s about using the material to enjoy and play with nature.”
Whether it’s a futuristic treehouse or giant strips of cork that you can curl up in, the temporary forest showcases ideas for tackling sustainable housing in the future. They’re on display for the duration of H22 City Expo, which runs until July 3, 2022.