Nature Architecture 2014 | They say this generation is drawn to the city. In Brooklyn and Portland, Austin and OKC, we’re moving to the city for opportunity, for community and the great urban experience. But this drive to the city does not detract from our fascination with the natural world. The built environment has its allure, but the call of nature never ceases. It’s always there, always waiting.
To celebrate our natural, primal drive to the wilderness, we’ve selected our 10 favorite works of nature architecture from 2014. These cabins, treehouses and hideaways celebrate the great outdoors, the yin to our urban yang. Join us below.
The Sustainability Treehouse – a Green Educational Escape in West Virginia
A tall, technological marvel of a treehouse rises above the canopy at Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia. The Sustainability Treehouse reaches over 100 feet above the forest floor, providing an educational experience to visitors as well as an unparalleled view. It is one of the most remarkable works of treehouse architecture created in this young decade, a modern monument by Mithun architects.
The Sustainability Treehouse | Gallery
Glass Conservatory House is a Crystal Castle near Mexico City
A rural retreat in the forests north of Mexico City is home to a new glass conservatory house. It is an extension of an existing living space, one that uses an abandoned tennis court as its foundation. The Glass Conservatory House by Lorenzo Alvarez Arquitectos is a bright, airy living space that comprises five rooms under a clear glass shell. It is built with stone, wood, steel and glass, taking the shape of a conservatory for plants and people alike.
Glass Conservatory House by Lorenzo Alvarez Arquitectos | Gallery
Delta Cabin by AToT is a Towering Tiny House near Buenos Aires Argentino
This towering tiny house overlooks a peaceful riverside retreat near Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Delta Cabin by AToT is raised above the ground on a series of concrete pillars that provide a panoramic view of the surrounding scenery. Should the river swell, these stilts will provide flood safety to boot. It’s designed to be both functional and fun, a much needed rural escape from the bustle of Buenos Aires.
Delta Cabin by AToT | Gallery
Solo House by Pezo von Ellrichshausen Rises over Spanish Forest
A concrete cubic structure rises above the forest in Cretas, Spain, the latest work by Pezo von Ellrichshausen. This rare and elegant modern home perches above vineyards and olive groves in the rolling Spanish landscape, looking up at bald, rocky mountains beyond. Its elevation presents an unparalleled connection with the natural environment around it, presenting sweeping views of the land in every direction. It is a contemporary concrete gem in a green rough of pines, olives and the endless Spanish brush.
Solo House by Pezo von Ellrichshausen | Gallery
Glass Garden Shed is the Ultimate Forest Bedroom
Deep in the wilderness of Finland, a tiny glass cottage overlooks a peaceful lake and the forest beyond. The Glass Garden Shed by Ville Hara and Linda Bergroth is a dream by design. It features a pitched glass roof and three glass walls that provide an intimate connection with the environment around it. While its shape is traditional, inspired by the garden sheds of old, its material and metaphor make this a decidedly contemporary cabin. [read more: 10 Contemporary Cabins from Around the World]
Glass Garden Shed by Ville Hara and Linda Bergroth | Gallery
Kew Gardens’ Sky-High Walkway Overlooks a London Park
It’s one thing to look up and admire the trees around you, but it’s something else to walk amongst them 59 feet up in the air. Kew Gardens Treetop Walkway is a unique experience that not only offers beautiful view of the surrounding landscape, but also teaches people about the vital role that trees serve on our planet. Designed by Marks Barfield Architects, they took great care to blend the walkway amongst the trees and reduce its overall environmental impact.
Kew Garden’s Tree Top Walkway by Marks Barfield Architects | Gallery
Forest Cabin by Bernd Riegger Offers Sanctuary in the Wild
Nestled deep in the forests of Austria, architect Bernd Riegger has constructed a beautiful minimalist cabin that offers scientists and students alike a chance to get up close and personal with mother nature. The House for Forest Owls features a timber structure that manages to blend effortlessly with its surroundings, despite a somewhat complex external facade. Apart from a place where people can observe the forest and its wildlife, the one-room structure is also the perfect place to escape from sudden thunderstorms and inclement weather while out walking in the woods.
Forest Cabin by Bernd Riegger | Gallery
Trakke Jero Yurt is a 21st Century Cabin for Cool Camping
Yurts are a type of portable dwelling that have been used by nomadic people in Central Asia for at least 3000 years, but it seems the West is finally catching on to their unique charm and functionality. Trakke, a Scottish company that makes products for the everyday adventurer, has released a lightweight, 21st century version of the movable home that’s perfect for camping or maybe even just having someone stay in the back garden. Conceived with the help of designer and adventurer Uula Jero, say hello to the Trakke Jero Yurt.
Trakke Jero Yurt | Gallery
Lake Cabin by Fam Architekti is a Czech Forest Retreat
Located a short drive from Prague, FAM Architekti and Feilden+Mawson have designed a lake cabin that allows the owner to indulge their yachting passion – or gaze out over uninterrupted views of the lake and surrounding pine forest. The conversion follows the same outline as the original, and manages to fit everything in one room, with a sleeping area in the loft, and a kitchen sectioned off from the main living space. Simplicity is the name of the game, and this house seems to be winning.
Lake Cabin by Fam Architekti | Gallery
Baumraum Reveals Two New Treehouses
The masters of treehouse architecture, Baumraum Treehouses of Bremen, Germany, has revealed two new elevated escapes for fans of forest living. The Baumraum Treehouse Solling rises 12-feet over a pond in Uslar, Germany, while the Baumraum Treehouse Djuren is an elliptical unit standing 17-feet over the forest floor. Together, they are modern in design, playful in spirit and sustainable in construction, a continuation of the great design efforts from Baumraum over the years.
Baumraum Treehouses – Djuren and Solling | Gallery