For millennia we’ve handcrafted timber, in harmony with nature. With the modernisation and acceleration of life, we experienced a shift to sterile, rigid buildings constructed from polluting materials, contributing to a deteriorating planetary, mental and social health. Can we now leverage new fabrication technologies to relearn to design with nature’s material, echoing its formal beauty, promoting wellbeing?
There is a fundamental reassurance in trees and nature, which provides calming and relaxing effects as evidenced in the Japanese practice of shinrin yoki (forest bathing). Biophilia research shows that using timber’s warm, soft and friendly qualities in spaces results in positive feelings and lower levels of stress and depression.
Imagine embodying this Black Pine, being both inside it and outside at once. Heartwood House welcomes visitors to experience a timber ‘grainscape’, forging an intimate relationship between human and tree. Inviting you to meander closely around its flowing bark, the visitor is surrounded by echoes of its 200 rings rippling out from piercing branches, colliding and reshaping, forming beautiful intricate woodgrain patterns.
The treehouse’s name derives from the emotive designation of a trunk’s core: heartwood. Upon following the sinuous ramp to its heart, visitors will experience the dappled light through the Pine’s needles softly landing on the curved forms of the porous envelope offering glimpses of Kew’s impressive landscape.
Competition entry for the Treehouses at Kew competition organised by the Museum of Architecture.