Course Blog

Modular TreeHouses

The actual way of life, consumption, how and with what we build, transport systems, waste management, etc. all one thing in common, the contribution of environment pollution, mostly with the increase of the carbon footprint but there are other consequences such as heavy metal pollution, increase of diseases, plastic waste and loss of biodiversity among others. Many types of research [reference 1 for example] show that it is a real problem, perfectly represented by Carbon Footprint Ltd and it is increasing as O’Neill BC. et. al. represent in “Global demographic trends and future carbon emissions”. This problem needs an immediate solution, solving the damage generated and searching for new ways of stop causing it.

Big, Lucy, Francisco and I share this worry and other ones arouse such as population growth and food sustainability. We had different but close reasons to start the project Treehouses and we all agreed that this situation has to change and the best start is modifying the immediate environment of people and interaction with nature. There is an actual nature annihilation tendency nowadays as it is mentioned for example in the book “Last Child in the Woods” from Richard Louv. A good start to make people change its vision and mentality towards nature, resources and the harm that we are causing is changing the way we live. This, not only can have a direct beneficial impact on people lives as Richard exposes with his “Nature Deficit Disorder” especially in cities (increase risk of obesity, anxiety, depression, etc.) but also in a more long term effect since a more close relation with nature will make people realize how important it is to preserve it.

To do this we have thought in a modular view of environmental friendly house. The main goal is to be able to design our “TreeHouse” with an inventory of elements that will allow introducing it easily. With this modular concept we would be able to build our “TreeHouses” from scratch but also incorporate some of these modules in existing houses or buildings. The latter allows a progressive introduction of the concept and a gradual reintroduction to nature. We are still exploring all the modules/ideas but some inspiring works can be environmental friendly building materials such as Hempcrete, generate energy from living organisms (green roofs from Dutch company Plant-e), hydroponic technologies, bioluminescence (Ambio by Teresa van Dongen or Bio-Lamp by Philips Design), water purification systems (effectiveness of different systems studied with promising results such as the research of B. Eftekhar[Reference 9]) and many more.

In overall, what we are trying to achieve is to reduce the growing gap between people and nature so the population will start to re-appreciate our natural environment and how important it is to protect it not just to not lose it but for our own and this planets survival. Our modular TreeHouses will be the perfect start to reduce this gap and reintroduce nature in our common lives.



1.    The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health: A Systematic Review, Aleksandrowicz L1,2Green RJoy EJSmith PHaines A. PLoS One. 2016 Nov 3;11(11):e0165797

2.    Carbon Footprint Ltd: Retrieved 10th of February, 2018

3.    Global demographic trends and future carbon emissions, O’Neill BCDalton MFuchs RJiang LPachauri SZigova K. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 12;107(41):17521-6.

4.    Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv. Workman Publishing Company

5.    Study of a hempcrete wall exposed to outdoor climate: Effects of the coating. A. Piot, T. Béjat, A. Jay, L. Bessette , E. Wurtz, L. Barnes-Davin. Construction and Building Materials. 2017, 139:540-550.

6.    Plant-e: Retrieved 12th of February, 2018.

7.    Ambio: Retrieved 12th of February, 2018.

8.    Bio-Lamp: Retrieved 12th of February, 2018.

9.    The Effectiveness of Home Water Purification Systems on the Amount of Fluoride in Drinking Water. Behrooz Eftekhar, Masoume Skini, Milad Shamohammadi, Jaber Ghaffaripour, and Firoozeh Nilchian. J Dent (Shiraz). 2015 Sep; 16(3 Suppl): 278–281.