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Architecture takes to the skies, as childhood-inspired tree homes take the spirit of natural living to exhilarating new heights.

Imbued with natural beauty, tree homes take the spirit of indoor/outdoor living to innovative new heights.

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Secret retreats on high make fond adolescent memories. From our first fantasy home where our make believe world takes form, to the imagined universes of Tolkein’s elfin city, or Peter Pan’s treetop fortress from treasured childhood tomes, such romantic images remain timeless. As treehouse builder and author of Treehouse Living: 50 Innovative Designs, Alain Laurens notes “the attraction of treehouses is that attachment to our childhood, to the dreams that we created in our childhood. There’s something very special even for grown ups.”

While the traditional play hut on high may not be a traditional accommodation option in adult years, treetop living is no new phenomenon. In northern India, animist tribes have spent centuries perched upon high boughs, while as early as the 1700s, Captain James Cook reported meeting Tasmania’s treetop residents. More recently, contemporary Western architects have tapped into the emotional appeal of marrying the home with our external world by deconstructing the boundaries that separate us from our environment. Bernardes + Jacobsen’s residéncia FW in Guadalajara, nestled high in the Brazilian forest, combines the luxury of a modernist-inspired family home, with the exhilarating experience of living like the birds. Built on a 18m high deck supported by pillars among the preserved terrain, the two story wooden home sits harmoniously within the beauteous verdant surroundings.

Savvy hoteliers are also tuning into our desire for new experiences, creating treetop hotel suites. Tham & Videgård Hansson Arkitekter’s concept for a tree hotel in the far north of Sweden raises eco-tourism to stylish new heights. Lightweight aluminium boxes clad in mirrored glass, built around tree trunks, reflect their surroundings and create a camouflaged refuge. Whether a peaceful retreat to while away the hours, or a family home from home, it’s time to enjoy the high life.

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