I don’t know that I would build a home in the Amazon, but if I did, I would like it to be exactly like the Campinarana House Manaus, Brazil.
Not quite a treehouse, but a tree house? And an environmentally friendly one, too. The architects at Laurent Troost used low impact strategies in the construction to protect the landscape. Additionally, the local climate made it important to account for the possibility of extreme weather conditions, since the whole area sits in an equatorial zone.
Throughout the house, the building techniques are geared towards effective thermal comfort and passive—green—sustainability. Campinarana House—named after the Campinarana tree which grows in shallow, clay-like soil—is built from a unique and cutting edge combination of protective eaves, cross-ventilation openings, and preservation mechanisms for the local ecological systems.
The minimization of deforestation required by building this project was paramount to the architect and the owners. This need to save the forest is what determined the shape and layout of the house; designers built between, around, above, and through the trees rather than clearing them out.
This resulted in a sort of “layout flip,” or a reversal of more classic housing typologies; Campinarana House grows upwards into the trees, rather than outwards through their trunks and roots. The private spaces, more typically put upstairs, are on the ground floor her, while the living spaces, outdoor areas, kitchen, and swimming pool are on the upper deck so as not to interrupt the natural landscape.
This flip also helped harness the power of natural heating and cooling offered by the forest. For example, the top portion of the house was purposely built to house functions that benefit from sun exposure, like the pool, the entryway, and the laundry, while the lower volume was built as a refuge for those places that would do better with protection from harsh sunlight.
Effective cross-ventilation is also essential to the passive heating and cooling of the home which accounts for the strategic placement of closed and open-air spaces on the top level, as well as the presence of large windows or glass walls and how they move on the lower floor. This keeps thermal elements of the house under control, which in turn keeps the house as a whole very low in its energy consumption levels, and therefore enables it to have a lower impact on the environment.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but great care was taken to preserve the forests and the natural topography, and to use the natural climate to make the home functional and living and urban rustic beautiful.