A starry-eyed, sprawl-busting urban housing concept that’s not too dissimilar in spirit from these floating forest pods that made the rounds back in 2014, Dutch architect Raimond de Hullu's recently unveiled vision for a sustainable treehouse community isn’t comprised of treehouses.
And like the aforementioned forest pods, de Hullu’s concept, dubbed Oas1s, offers both far-out conceptual design renderings with a bit of good, old-fashioned food for thought prompted by pressing real-world housing concerns.
A leafy oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle where “nature and architecture become totally 1,” de Hullu describes Oas1s as being a “forest-like community” populated by foliage-clad “tree-like houses” in an “organic and public, compact and car-free lay-out.”
Sounds lovely. When can we move in?
No, but seriously. When can we move in?
While the lush — and most importantly, available — urban woodlands that de Hullu envisions plopping these walkable communities into might not exactly be a dime-a-dozen, the svelte and vegetation-enveloped Oas1s homes themselves are a bit more feasible. Although de Hullu has placed his tree-inspired houses in dense clusters amongst the arboreal real deal, these miniature “treescrapers” would stand out pretty much anywhere.
Described as a “100 percent green building typology” inspired by waste-conscious Cradle to Cradle standards, the skinny detached abodes — think of them as proper tower-houses, like the ones so popular in space-starved Japanese cities — have “average tree-like sizes” and operate completely off the grid.
Factory-built from recycled wood, the green-walled three-bedroom homes are topped with solar panels, equipped with rainwater harvesting systems and incorporate a host of other sustainable technologies that allow them to, well, function more like trees than houses. As de Hullu puts it, “identical to trees, the units consist of wood and leaves, collect sun and water, plus provide oxygen, shelter and food.”
As for the interior of each boxy ‘n’ tall prefab Oas1s home, de Hullu describes them as being “cabin-like” with about 160 square meters (a little over 1,700 square feet) spread out across four floors of customizable living space. Decent views, of course, are essential in an urban forest dwelling: “Each floor is differently directed to the surroundings by large windows with a loggia or French balcony.” Triple-glazed windows and plenty of natural insulation help to keep the greenery-wrapped dwellings comfortable and efficient.
In addition to single-family residences, De Hullu also imagines a handful of structures within each Oas1s community as being divvied up into multi-family and/or mixed-use buildings with commercial spaces on the ground floor. You know, for businesses like Dryads' Dry Cleaners, Bodega O' The Thicket, Baba Yaga's Froyo, a Stumptown coffee shop, etc.
As mentioned, each Oas1s community would be completely car-less, with resident parking located on the outskirts of the neighborhoods.
De Hullu, a graduate of the Delft University of Technology, tells Gizmag: "I grew up [in the countryside] in southern Holland and spent much time being in the forest or at the beach. That is why I love nature and when my father started to build a house I fell in love with architecture. I always was fascinated by both and passionate about creating a fusion between both."
It’s important to point out that while de Hullu’s renderings may scream dollar signs in the multiples, the overall aim of Oas1s is egalitarian, not exclusive, in nature. As “competitive middle-class housing," these aren’t tree-inspired urban abodes for the rich. Oas1s would follow a community land trust (CLT) model, a stewardship-minded affordable housing scheme in which the underlying land itself is owned by a nonprofit corporation and leased to individual homeowners. (For those unfamiliar with the wonderful world of CLTs, this video offers a nice explainer).
“This is a proven concept to create affordable housing," de Hullu recently told Co.Exist. "This principle combines very well with the public park-like layout of OAS1S communities."
To answer the all-important "when can we move in?" question posed above, De Hullu also tells Co.Exist that he’s currently on the hunt for a city-bound forest in which to erect the inaugural Oas1s development.
Any leads? Portland? Atlanta? Denver? Stockholm? Do you know of any available swaths of urban woodland that fit the bill?
Via [Co.Exist], [Gizmag]
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