‘Through the looking glass’

apr15_82Feel the peace and harmony of living with nature in this classy, contemporary reinterpretation of the treehouse concept where residents would literally stay with a fullgrown tree inside their glass house.
Text by Isabelle Pinto | Photography by Aibek Almassov
The typical treehouse where fathers and sons bond together has given way to a wider interpretation these days, courtesy of the movement towards more eco and sustainable living. One such iteration is by Kazakh architect, Aibek Almassov of A. Masow Design Studio who has ambitiously come up with designs of a structure that is somewhat akin to a treehouse yet does not sit on a tree. Instead, the tree is sitting right smack inside the house with the structure forming an enclosure around the naturally-grown tree. Taking the shape of a completely transparent glass cylinder, the house appears like a design oddity – like a measuring cylinder in a science lab – yet it manages to exude class and a contemporary design.
The unique glass house was mainly created as an effort by the architect to blend architecture with nature. “We focus on creating projects using new innovative products and technologies to create green and self-sufficient buildings. As architects, we want to make a difference by creating a balance between architecture and Mother Nature – that’s the main inspiration behind the project,” says Almassov.
apr812But above all, he also wants the residents to feel at one with nature, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. And that is why the natureloving architect has firm plans for the project to be built in the forests of Kazakhstan, though he has not decided on a specific location yet. The house’s glazed, cylindrical façade would therefore provide stunning 360° views towards the forest, creating a calming and peaceful ambience.
apr80“The house has to be something that can develop your spiritual and creative side,” he emphasizes. It would indeed be an ideal place to retreat to for a quiet & peaceful getaway during the weekends or on holidays. I can just imagine what a great place it would be to relax and unwind in solitude through meditation – Gandhi would have thoroughly loved this – or to engage in creative works of art like painting or writing.
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In terms of materials used, the house has floor-to-ceiling windows for walls which contribute to its completely see-through nature. Its contemporary cylindrical façade reveals four storeys with light-coloured wooden flooring used for the landings, further blending the house with its natural surroundings. Residents would be able to go from floor to floor by ascending the winding white staircase positioned at the rim of its glass frame.
screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-4-58-55-pmBEAUTY WITH SUBSTANCE
Stunning and classy as it is, the glass house isn’t merely an object of beauty but also boasts a sustainable design. Its transparent façade allows natural daylight to easily permeate through the building, eliminating the need for artificial lighting during the day. The house is also equipped with new technological innovations to support the house with energy, such as solar panels and solar paint. However, “these would only be able to produce enough energy for living during the weekends – short term stays only,” says the architect which makes it highly recommended as a vacation home for short retreats.
The solar panels would be placed on the fourth floor of the house – the highest level- and would also be transparent so as not to impinge upon the structure’s design. The solar paint used for the house’s exterior is one of the latest developments in solar technology which uses a very similar concept as solar panels in producing electricity. As for water supply, rainwater collection facilities will be utilised to collect and store water for consumption.
Despite boasting an appealing design, one of the project’s main challenges was in securing an investor. Designs of the project was actually released since 2013 with an investor already secured , but unfortunately this initial investor subsequently pulled out, bringing the project to an untimely end. But with current new investor interest in the project, it has taken off again and there is a high chance that the glass treehouse would finally become a reality.

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