Dursley Treehouse goes high to get over planning hurdles
Britisharchitectural studio Millar Howard Workshop has come up with acreative way to build a beautiful family home on a protected piece ofland, which was previously denied building permits twice before. Their solution was to build an elevated 200-sq m (2,152-sq ft) Passivhaustreehouse. Dubbed Dursley Treehouse, the result is a stunning familyhome built above a series of screwpiles specifically designed forminimal impact on the ground.
"Thebrief for the house was to gain planning permission for this unusualsite which had twice before been refused planning for conventionalhouses," says Millar Howard Workshop. "The client wanted adwelling that was very sensitive to both the immediate surroundingsof the site and the wider, local community. The client was alsoadamant that the impact of the house on its site should be very lowand be as environmentally sound as possible."
Inorder to not disturb the site's 27 protected trees and their roots,an elevated building was conceived, incorporating the trees in thehome's design and outlook. The architects had to consider the treesand their dimensions to build the home around the trunks andbranches, while also calculating for future growth and movement.
Furthermore, the decision to support the structure using screwpiles meant the ground would remain unmarred, which was a condition of theplanning approval. Duringconstruction, builders used specialist forklifts and cranes withcaterpillar tracks in order to not impact or disturb the roots.
"Whatwas unique about this site was looking at the spaces between thetrees to find the best location for the building so as not to disturbthe trees or disrupt any future growth," Ros James from MillarHoward Workshop tells New Atlas. "A series of stacked,cantilevered boxes was designed which created several separatespaces, linked by the continual heights of the trees which flow asyou progress up through the house and maximize the views of thebranches, leaves and inevitable wildlife."
With the main part of the home sittingsome 12 m (39 ft) above the ground, the stunningtreehouse-inspired home stretches over three levels and featuresfloor-to-ceiling glass windows, large open plan living, beautifulslate flooring and a lightweight balcony that encircles the entirehome.
Inorder to achieve Passivhaus certification, the Dursley Treehouse wasbuilt with an airtight double stud timber frame and 300 mm (13-in) insulation.The dwelling is supported by a steel frame with ceramic structuralthermal breaks in order to avoid any cold bridging issues. Thewindows and doors have been strategically positioned to reduce heatloss and gains.
The home is clad with untreated Larch and its base is clad with polished stainless steel to reflect the treesand surrounding landscape. In addition, many of the home's featureswere built from reclaimed materials, including the balconies. Thehome is fitted with rooftop solar panels and its overall annualenergy cost is anticipated at approx £360 (US$481).
DursleyTreehouse took 20 months to complete, costing £268,000(US$358,495) all up. It is the recentwinnerof The Telegraph & Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine BestPassivhaus Award 2017. Locatedin Gloucestershire, South West England, Dursley Treehouse is soon to beopened as a Bed and Breakfast, offering a uniquetreehouse escape.