Architect builds passively-cooled Tree Top Studio

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Tree Top Studio was completed in 2014 (Photo: Sam Noonan)

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What do you do if you're an award-winning architect in need of a new home office, and you don't want to extend or alter your impressive heritage-listed home? Well, if you happen to be Australia's Max Pritchard, you roll your sleeves up and get busy building yourself an equally impressive forest retreat in your garden.

With the exception of the wiring, Pritchard tackled all of Tree Top Studio's design and construction himself, including the bookcase and circular table that are installed within.

"I think many architects would benefit from making the time to get this sort of experience," Pritchard told Dezeen. "I'm probably going too far to say designers should be able to build their own designs, but certainly if they could build small structures it would help their understanding of the construction process and materials."

The two-story structure takes its place well within the trees and comprises a timber frame clad in golden plywood sheeting. It features a total floorspace of 25 sq m (269 sq ft), and its interior design echoes the pattern on the studio's roof and wall, with the bookshelves and windows positioned accordingly.

Pritchard didn't install any air-conditioning or heating, but instead relies on passive methods of temperature control. Two vertical banks of glass louvers enable the prevailing breeze to enter and keep the interior at a bearable temperature. When the louvers are closed, solar heat gain is used to keep Pritchard warm enough too (Adelaide's winters are relatively mild). Access is gained by timber bridge.

The Tree Top Studio was completed in 2014.

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