Designed to have minimal impact on the surrounding trees and to preserve the natural habitat of the site, Dursley Treehouse has garnered much interest for its beautiful cantilevered structure, its low environmental impact and for the romanticism of living in a ‘treehouse’. Wide use of reclaimed, reused, recycled materials throughout the project saw it win the GAGA 2018 Sustainable Award.
The brief for the house was to gain planning permission for a site which had twice before been refused planning for conventional houses. The 27 protected trees posed a big constraint and dictated the location of the building within the site.
In order to protect the tree roots,(a condition of the planning approval) the ground had to remain untouched, therefore an elevated building was proposed. The main structure of the house is a double stud timber frame with 300 mm of insulation.
This sits on a steel frame which itself sits on a series of galvanized steel screw piles, designed to keep ground disturbance to a minimum. Many of the internal and external finishes were reclaimed from a local disused factory, including the galvanized steel grating for an access bridge and balcony walkways; agricultural galvanized fencing that has been refashioned into balustrades and a second-hand galvanized spiral staircase.
The two lower floors have a slate floor reclaimed from an old Rolls Royce garage and the upstairs floor features floorboards from an old basketball court.
The house also features its own water supply, reducing the carbon footprint further. The clients were keen to achieve PassivHaus certification for this building and as such, it adheres to the strict criteria for energy efficiency and thermal comfort to ensure that heating is below 15 kWh/m2 /year at a comfortable temperature, without drafts, with plenty of fresh air and no damp or mould.