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Treehouse-inspired weekend retreat towers above its landscape


June 6, 2013

The Tower House by New York based architectural studio GLUCK+ is a unique weekend property which takes the idea of living in the trees to an entirely new level (photo: Paul Warchol)

The Tower House by New York based architectural studio GLUCK+ is a unique weekend property which takes the idea of living in the trees to an entirely new level (photo: Paul Warchol)

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The treehouse-inspired Tower House by New York based architectural studio GLUCK+ is a unique weekend property, which takes the idea of living in the trees to an entirely new level. Located in upstate New York, the single-family home stretches over four levels and takes on the appearance of a small urban skyscraper. The slick structure is almost out of place amidst its natural forest landscape, however its glass facade does offer its occupants a great advantage point from which to enjoy treetop living.

Earlier this year, the Tower House was the recipient of the Architecture Merit Award at the 2013 AIA New York Design Awards and taking a closer look at the project, it’s not hard to see why.

The home features a vertical tower which sits on a small base footprint of approximately 40 sq m (430 sq ft), as to ensure little impact on the site. The fourth floor rests horizontally on top of the tower and nine meters (30 ft) off the ground. Two supporting beams positioned in a V-shape from the ground up help support the structure, which otherwise seems to balance in the air.

The first three floors each comprise of a north-facing small bedroom and compact bathroom. The tower’s central staircase zig-zags its way up to the top floor, which features a large open living space, hidden kitchen, meals area and impressive views across the surrounding forest canopy. And if that wasn’t enough, the living space extends upwards again to an outdoor rooftop deck.

All the wet zones of the house (bathrooms, laundry, kitchen etc.) have been stacked into an insulated central core, which according to the architects allows for a 49 percent reduction in energy use.

“In order to optimize energy savings for heating and cooling in this part-time residence, a two part sustainable strategy was employed to reduce the heating footprint of the house in the winter and to avoid the need for air conditioning in the summer,” says GLUCK+ .

In the warmer months the house maintains a consistent flow of air which is drawn inwards through the “stack effect," facilitated by the multiple outward-opening windows. During the winter season, the tower’s south-facing glass stairwell acts like a solar passage, allowing the warm air to rise into the central living zone.

While the GLUCK+ studio wouldn’t confirm the final cost of the project, it did state that focus was given to quality and sustainability. “We believe that the construction process of the Tower House enables innovative design to be built to the highest quality without sacrifice to efficiency and cost effectiveness,” Gluck+ Director of Strategic Projects, Bethia Liu told Gizmag.

The GLUCK+ architects are currently working on several projects that also marry innovative design with sustainability. Amongst them is The Stack, a modular residential and commercial mixed-use project in Upper Manhattan. The Stack project utilizes offsite construction and will be the first prefabricated steel and concrete multi-unit residential building in New York City. We will be sure to bring you further information on the project when more details are released.

Source: GLUCK+ via Dezeen

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Now I could really live in that beautiful home.


The uncomfortable furniture also helps to limit the home's environmental impact. :)

It's pretty, but I'm guessing at least $500K. Also, completely unsuitable for anyone who has problems going up and down stairs.

Jon A.

Very nice view, much like what I have from my 1973 wooden house without the 500k premium. ;-) On an different note, I wonder how that "retreat" scores from an acoustic point of view; there are many flat surfaces and nothing that absorbs the sounds. Might very well feel like a bus station. Absorbers are cheap, though, and can be retrofitted. I'm just wondering why no architect ever thinks of that. Perhaps they don't have acoustic simulation in their CAD programs.


The views from it look great too bad it sticks out. Maybe if it was covered in camouflage. It is however vastly better than that absurdity presented by Other Architects.


Love it

Bill Gallagher
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