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 was devised as an exhibition of modern sustainable energy technologies. It comprises a tall Corten steel frame, wooden floors, ceilings and walls and a group of exhibition spaces throughout. It features a pair of twisting wind turbines, a photovoltaic solar panel array and a large cistern and water cleaning system. Each of these technologies is on display for the treehouse’s guests, providing an education and interactivity with these state-of-the-art systems.
While the turbines and photovoltaics are educational in spirit, they’re fully functional as well, providing power to the lights and other systems that run throughout the treehouse. Interior lighting, stair safety lights, televisions for video presentations and other systems all receive power from the solar array and wind generators at the tower’s peak.
In total, the Sustainable Treehouse is one of the most visually remarkable treehouses built in recent history, and it’s functional aims take its success a step further. It encourages wonder and exploration in its guests, educating them on the state of modern sustainable technologies at the same time. It’s another success by Michun, and one we hope to visit. [photography by Joe Fletcher]