Tree House Module – Young Architects Competitions (YAC)

Place Mothe-Chandeniers & L’Ébaupinay & Vibrac
Country France
Customer YAC – Young Architects Competitions
Years 2020
Description International competition

Intro

Climb to see the world from a new perspective, protect yourself in a safe place, hide everything that we have most secret, all interposed by the tree branches: this is all that a tree house represents for us. Right from the start it seemed a difficult topic to deal with. It expresses the need to combine two worlds that often have difficulty communicating: children’s dreams and technical choices, knowledges from an adult sphere. A good architectural work crosses these worlds. The plant, like ideally the architectural work, is located between earth and sky, between functional answers and evocative momentum against any physical rule.

Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers (13th century), Château de L’Ébaupinay (14th century), Château de Vibrac (15th century), are located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine district, an area that enjoys not only a mild and sunny climate, but also have a privileged position, between the Atlantic Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Central Massif.

Concept

The Leaf

The first idea of the project is to create smaller and identical prefabricated submodules instead of a unique tree module house. Creating more individual spaces allows to make easy transport objects which is possible to move in different places during his life. The complete tree module house is obtained composing these submodules together. As usual in nature, one part is meaningful just in relationship with the others.

The stem

As a stem for its leaves, our proposal is to adopt just one technological element to touch the ground: a single central column to support the submodules at the desired height which contains also all the systems. To create an independent structure allows to do not damage the appointed tree where the tree module house will be installed.  Furthermore, it permits to choose the desired height of the house related to the tree.

The plant

Combining one, two or three submodules it is possible to obtain two different modules: “the tree house module” (64m3) and “the module among trees” (96m3). The system is made up by positioning the submodules from above and overlap one on top of the other. The result of that combination is a space which has a 360° view on the surrounding landscape, exploiting both the inside and the roof of each submodule. As a perfect biological being, it works efficiently only when all the parts are together.

The roots

A pedestrian path allows the tree house modules distributed around the ruins of Mothe Chandeniers, l’Ébaupinay and Vibrac to take root on the countryside. It could adapt itself to the morphology of the terrain and the water mirror area, making easier the movability also during the rainy season.

Modularity

The required different spaces are distributed in 3 different submodules: AWelness area, BLiving area and Storage, CBedroom and Toilet. Each element is standardized and prefabricated with a volume of 32 cubic meters: it is possible to combine two submodules to create the tree house module of 64 cubic meters, or three modules for the module among the trees of 96 cubic meters. The system is made up by inserting the module from above into the stem and overlap one on top of the other. Arrange the house on several floors allows us to attribute to each individual module a different housing function, but at the same time, it makes us live the house at different levels, as happens for the tree habitat. The fixing need, for each element, a steel support placed at the base which prevents it from sliding and rotating; the two tie cables, connection between the top of the modules and the stem, are an additional factor of solidity for the entire structure. The freedom of fixing, in height, allows us to create a different relationship based on the characteristics of the foliage of the endemic tree species like Poplars, Oaks and Beeches; the freedom of rotation leads to choose the panorama and the orientation for a better light.

Materials and finished

The exterior of the facades is concerned to use wooden shingles, traditional central and northern Europe technique. This choice allows the creation of highly material objects that visually recall the architecture of this area of France, characterized in the past by a strong stereometric tradition. The desire is to create an architecture that integrates harmoniously with the surrounding nature and the landscape, creating a protective layer that can transform itself according to the natural changes due to the passage of time and weather: this cladding reduce maintenance even in harsh climates in both summer and winter.

Adaptability on landscape

In order to realize a project that could be flexible to every kind of landscape and trees it has been adopted the strategy of making every single house independent from the tree and from the landscape.

That means it is possible to locate the tree houses both in all areas around the ruins of Mothe Chandeniers, l’Ébaupinay and Vibrac. Furthermore, the houses have a 360° vision all over the landscape, that allows to valorise the ruins as a panoramic beauty.

The pedestrian path takes its form directly from the terrain morphology, its natural shape allows to keep in contact the tree houses with the specific location. It also generates a relationship with water mirrors, it permits visitors to move freely in the countryside and to discover new point of view of the ruins.