“More and more people within the planet are in look for an honest place to measure and therefore the conditions to realize it is getting tougher and tougher by the hour,” as explained by Aravena in his curator’s statement he further added “Any attempt to go beyond business as usual encounters huge resistance within the inertia of reality and any effort to tackle relevant issues possesses to beat the increasing complexity of the earth. But unlike military wars where nobody wins and there is a prevailing sense of defeat, on the frontlines of the built environment, there is a way of vitality because architecture is about watching reality during a proposal key.” Taking this as a challenge curating the planning philosophy and therefore the ideology for creating a far better space to measure and to reinforce the living experience of the user towards a comfortable and habitable environment; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners an international award-winning firm based in London came up with the concept of “Tree House”.

Image of logo of the firm:

The Tree House by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners: The Stacked Apartment Building - Sheet1


A project inspired by flexible and deployable techniques to build the structure is home to futuristic architecture and an innovative step taken to propel the concept of volumetric design philosophy. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners came up with the concept of the tree house to meet the current need for sustainability along with the unique housing techniques. This tree house housing project consists of units of 75 sq. m. each with 2 bedrooms for the occupancy of 4 people. These units can be stacked one upon another up to 10 stories. The individual units are arranged around stairs and lifts. The staircase and lifts are centrally placed helping in natural ventilation and creating a stack effect. The internal layout of the house is flexible and can be arranged according to the need of the user. These user-friendly units are incorporated with a private garden thus giving access to private or communal garden spaces. The ground floor is given over to open space and cafes, to encourage interaction and community building. The ground floor is used as a community space for public interaction achieved by the installation of cafes and open spaces. The estimated construction cost of the project is £110/m².

Image of tree house plan:

The Tree House by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners: The Stacked Apartment Building - Sheet2

In response to the theme of the 2016 Venice Biennale ‘Reporting from the Front’, it aims “to focus on architecture which works within the constraints presented by a lack of resources and people designs which subvert the established order to supply architecture for the commonweal – regardless of how small the success.” This playhouse is entirely made from timber thus reducing carbon footprints and taking a step toward sustainability. These timber structures are assembled with the help of low-tech factories from locally-sourced timber which can be stacked up to ten stories. Timber as construction is known for its strength along with its durability against various weather conditions. Timber is a natural material being used as the construction material for ages now due to its non-toxicity and no leakage of chemical vapors from it. With the ever increasing demand for sustainability and its importance in the building industry; timber proves to be a very efficient material as it has less embodied energy due to the very little energy required in the conversion of wood in trees to the timber used in building. Timber is a result of carbon drawn from the atmosphere. Using timber as a material stores carbon inside the house for a long period as long as the building stands or the timber is used. Anyway, this carbon is responsible for the addition of greenhouse gases, thus, damaging the environment.

Image of tree house model:

The Tree House by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners: The Stacked Apartment Building - Sheet3

Tree house is a research project and is unbuilt and thus gives the designer entity of designing it without restrictions. This whole project is like a giant Jenga block stacked upon each other to create the spaces in between and in the voids of the blocks. This also looks like an assembly of unsolved QJ mirror cubes stacked one upon another. The voids in these are used as garden spaces, thus, adding a sustainable feature. This project was shortlisted in 2016 for World Architecture Festival 2016 — Future Housing for its innovative and experimental techniques for housing units. 

Image of tree house model 01:

The Tree House by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners: The Stacked Apartment Building - Sheet4



Pratiksha Mahakulkar is a third-year student pursuing architecture. An old school voracious reader and now explores her inner desire in writing out her mind and architecture. An impatient soul who can work efficiently when under pressure and approaching deadlines.

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