A potential solution to housing shortages in city centres is a design for a sustainable treehouse.
Street Tree Pods take up the same amount of space as a single car-parking bay, the Street Tree Pods are teardrop-shaped structures made from wood, designed to merge with existing or new trees.
Each structure would offer accommodation to a single occupant, while also tackling the city’s high pollution levels.
They could be valuable to occupants such as students, young professionals and first-time buyers, or to people who are homeless or in the process of being rehoused.
These self-sufficient, low impact urban tree pods have been designed to merge the house and street tree together. They aim to facilitate humans innate attraction towards nature and natural processes, along with focusing on the importance of wellness and sustainable architecture.
The curved wooden form of the design is intended to reference inosculation – the natural phenomenon where the branches, trunks and roots of two trees grow and merge together.
Cedar shingles give the buildings a natural, textured cladding, while wooden bird boxes would be installed on top, set amongst the tree branches.
The innovative approach could increase both the density of greenery and housing in the city, while also allowing residents to enjoy the psychological benefits of being surrounded by nature – often overlooked in urban environments.
Tree trunks would run through the core of each structure, providing structural stability and ensuring no weight is placed on the branches.
The trunks would be enclosed in an ETFE shell – a system that would allow water to reach the tree and run through to the ground – while a rubber gasket between them will allow the tree to expand whilst remaining sealed.
Outside, the leaves of the trees would be used as a natural shading device.
To access the treehouses, each structure would incorporate a retractable ladder that could be operated from outside.
This would lead into each dwelling, where Chamberlain has designed four storeys. The lowest level is the plant room, which would contain the rainwater storage tanks, air source heat pump and bio digester.
Above, the second floor would house a kitchen and living space, with a small bathroom and balcony, while the third hosts a shower room, workspace and storage. Lastly, the top floor is the bedroom with roof light.
Each pod also incorporates rainwater collection, natural air ventilation, and air-source heat pumps, helping them to function sustainably, while cycle storage and a car parking space sit below.