Studio MEMM creates Tree House for a family retreat in Brazil
Brazilian firm Studio MEMM has completed a pair of elevated, wood-clad structures that are meant to offer a “floating, magical space in the woods” for both kids and adults.
The project, called Tree House, is located in Monte Verde, a town in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. The property has a main house, a pool, a sauna and other facilities.
Initially conceived as a play space for children, the client decided to make the treehouse suitable for adults in order to enhance their visits to the site.
“When the schematic design was first presented, the client realized that the treehouse, initially conceived to gather the children, should also be oriented to the family’s adults,” said Studio MEMM, a studio based in São Paulo.
The architects aimed to create a treehouse that could bring out the “playful inner self” in every user, regardless of age.
“The architecture had to become a floating, magical space in the woods, where family generations could enjoy time together,” the studio said.
Careful consideration went into selecting the treehouse’s location. The team and client ultimately decided on a wooded, sloped site near an existing pond, where there are numerous species of trees.
The team then designed two volumes that are nestled within Pinheiro-bravo trees, an endemic species that is threatened due to the clearing of forests in Brazil.
The two structures have rectangular plans and gently sloping roofs. The concrete-framed buildings are finished in wood and are lifted 1.7 to 2.5 metres off the ground.
“These solutions were chosen to better respond to the long rainy seasons and the volumetric and visual intentions,” the team said.
The first volume is four by 1.5 metres and serves as a reception and support space. The second is slightly larger, at four by three metres, and holds a living room. The two buildings are linked by a bridge.
A long, elevated walkway connects the treehouse to the property’s main promenade.
Glazed walls – which are meant to dissolve the boundary between inside and out – have slender, grey aluminium frames.
“With a dark graphite finish, they stand out from the wood, emphasizing the limit between the built and the void,” the studio said.
Inside, the architects added a chunky brise-soleil made of glue-laminated timber and fabricated using a CNC system. The patterning was inspired by the leaf structure found on nearby sycamore trees.
The screen is meant to foster “immersion and disconnection from the external world, transporting the user to a shelter that allows them to experience a feeling of unrecognizable enchantment”, the team said.
Interior light fixtures were installed in the floors to illuminate the brise-soleil from bottom to top, thus preventing shadows in the lower portion.
At night, the exterior of the treehouse is illuminated by lights embedded in the ground.
“The lighting not only highlights the architectural beauty without harming the natural darkness, but also aims to contemplate the trees that surround the residence,” the firm said.
Other treehouses include a pair of shingle-clad structures by Helen & Hard that hang above a Norwegian fjord, and a rounded building by BIG that holds a hotel room and is encircled by birdhouses.
The photography is by Nelson Kon.
Architecture: Studio MEMM
Construction: Construções João Trombada
Lumber: Madeireira Camanducaia
Glue-laminated and cross-laminated timber: Crosslam Brasil
Lighting products: Futura Iluminação
Decoration: Drielly Nunes
Futon: Bel Colore
Armchair: Estudio Bola
Side table: Estudio Bola
Glass sideboard: Jader Almeida