The Treehouse provides green, high-tech office space
By Stu Robarts
August 12, 2014
Developer MetroNational has unveiled what might just be the coolest Treehouse in Texas. Although not an actual treehouse, it aims to fire the imagination of those inside in the way that a child's treehouse might. It's designed as a space for meetings, collaboration and stimulating ideas.
The Treehouse is part of Memorial City, MetroNational's 265-acre mixed-use development in Houston, Texas, that includes office, retail and leisure spaces. It provides a venue for the area's planning, development and management activities. Partners and the Memorial City community are also able to make use of The Treehouse.
The building is part of a growing trend of office spaces that aim to be both technologically advanced and environmentally sound. Recent examples features covered by Gizmag include The Edge in Amsterdam and The Change Initiative in Dubai.
The Treehouse is spread over two levels and 14,700 sq ft (1,366 sq m) of space. It houses a reception area, conference rooms, offices, a living area and a wrap-around balcony. The office space is made flexible by the inclusion of temporary work stations that descend from the ceiling. A suspension bridge connects The Treehouse to MetroNational’s corporate offices.
For those who work in the building, a variety of technological features are incorporated into its design, aimed at improving the working environment. These include wireless screen sharing, interactive whiteboards and monitors in the lobby that display information about the weather, traffic and energy-usage of the building itself.
Indeed, energy usage and other green aspects are another major aspect of The Treehouse. It is aiming for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification, which is the US Green Building Council's highest rating.
The building's energy usage and reduction needs are met in a variety of ways. Internal temperature is regulated by a geothermal cooling and heating system, whilst electricity is generated by solar panels and a wind turbine on the roof. Daylight-harvesting lights, meanwhile, adjust their output based on the level of lighting required.
The building features a green roof that includes a rooftop garden and a means of collecting rainwater. Outdoor furniture is made from recycled plastic bottles, and the building's exterior wooden paneling is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified.
Other green features include interior flooring made from reclaimed wood, a conference room table made from a local tree trunk and a bar-top made from recycled glass bottles. Spaces for workers to store their bikes are also provided, as a means of encouraging green travel.
The Treehouse was completed and opened for use last month.