There are those of you (you know you you are) who have always dreamed of living in a tree-house. And there are no doubt many more of you who’ve always dreamed of moving to Australia. This rainforest tree-house — selected by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) as its 2012 House of the Year — could help you fulfill both of these bucket-list items in one fell swoop (provided you can convince its current occupants to move out).
The home appears to ‘float’ above the forest floor on a secluded and private lot in the foothills of Mt Whitfield in Cairns, supported by a galvanized steel support structure. The design, by mmp Architects, focuses on minimizing disturbance to the surrounding forest with a low-maintenance home that ArchDaily characterizes as embodying “a relaxed ambience [and] structural honesty,” allowing for plenty natural light and ventilation.
By retaining nearly all of the existing trees on the site and utilizing subdued colors, in tune with the surrounding environment, the home blends organically into the forest, making it nearly invisible from the city in the valley below. The home’s ample windows, however, feature not just views of nature, but a view of the city in the distance, offering its owners a unique vantage point.
Green features include a solar photovoltaic system (which provides for most of the home’s electricity needs) and solar hot water. Care was taken to create a residence that would require very little in the way of maintenance, increasing its longevity and durability (both factors in its overall green performance) via long-term, low maintenance materials. Low-VOC paints were utilized, as was sustainably harvested/plantation-grown timber and locally sourced stones for retaining walls.