Grow a treehouse

Energy & Sustainability
Grow a treehouse

Not quite production-ready, this is probably the most sustainable DIY housing I can imagine:


Here’s an explanation with an architect behind the concept:

Any ideas/instructions for slightly-smaller-scale growable structures?

(Via Chelsea Green)

18 thoughts on “Grow a treehouse

  1. n3rd says:

    if this could be done, short of crazy genetic engineering …. I am sure it would involve paulownia trees and maybe bamboo.

    Anyone looking to experiment with trees should give them a try. Mine grew to 20′ in 2 years. they are a soft wood but if designed right I think you could grow a decent roof and walls for the place.

  2. TD says:

    It would take a long time to produce a dwelling this way, and then you can’t stop the trees from growing once you have you “final” design finished. Trees sway in the breeze, too. Making walls and ceilings that keep the weather out (not to mention tree debris) will be a real trick.

    I think it would be better to design low mass, high strength, weather tight structures to be suspended from tree trunks.

  3. orn310 says:

    huh… that is certantly an interesting propozition, at least the first part, but I can’t help but wonder, if they can manipulate the soft trees like that, can’t they do that with the one large main one too? that would solve the Height limit and, also help with the tree swaying…

  4. carlo says:

    people should learn when and how to use the term CNC

  5. Ryan says:

    Only an architect would come up with an idea this stupid.

  6. SKR says:

    This is not a new idea. People have been creating structures from trees for hundreds of years. There is an impressively large example of a tree barn from the 1800’s in the book “Tricks with Trees”. There are many examples of hedges that show a remarkable similarity to the walls of houses throughout Europe. Unfortunately, the manner in which most people understand the plant world is very different from past generations. Instead of constructing a dense grafted hedge that becomes an impenetrable barrier which resembles the pattern of chainlink, they install chainlink and plant a row of closely planted trees/shrubs and just clip them to shape without worrying about the internal structure. This is fine. It works. We just generally lose some understanding of what is possible. Many people don’t realize how plastic working with trees can be. If you want a branch in a certain location, you just graft it there and train it into position. If you want a solid wall you would let the branches densely grow together into a solid piece of wood, completely weatherproof.

    That said, I wouldn’t want to have to grow a house, but a gazebo or patio cover might be interesting. Hybrids could prove to be very interesting.

  7. trees says:

    We are always interested in critical feedback especially from colleagues at MAKE. Although many of your questions/remarks are answered in our project sites.
    Please see our URLs for more info on the Fab Tree Hab ecological home concept. +

    No use of GM trees is needed for this project to reach fruition — although some companies offer this process (ArborGen, etc.)
    Time is the budget– 2.5 billion people will need new homes in the next 40 years. How can we do this within 7-15 years (depending on climate and location), all with a positive impact?

  8. SKR says:

    On the archinode link they are claiming 100% living materials. So, of what are the windows made? Also, throw out electricity and plumbing. Unless of course that statement is just green hyperbole. The assumption that 100% living is a good property is ridiculous. There are obvious benefits to using inorganic materials like stone, glass, copper, and PVC/ABS.

    Also, why not answer peoples questions here? Some of the commentors might not feel like wading through all the Maya/Rhino pie-in-the-sky paper architecture, and environmentalist dogma that is on the website. Oh and I’m pretty sure Jefferson was more a “freedom to” instead of a “freedom from” type of guy as they claim.

  9. reader says:

    windows made from soy plastic
    plumbing is a living machine aerobic reactor
    true– solar panels are not “living” but hey–!
    PVC is evil.
    read the text on the URL!

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Luke Iseman

Luke Iseman makes stuff, some of which works. He invites you to drive a bike for a living (, stop killing your garden (, and live in an off-grid shipping container (

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