O2 Buckyball Treehouse

This is an impressive site showcasing a novel tree house design based on Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome.

The O2 sustainability approach is to hang an external perimeter frame, the bucky ball, in a tree and use it to support a platform floor and plastic panel enclosure.

Entrance is via a pentagon shaped trap door in the floor, and ropes to haul up a one person basket.

The semi-opaque plastic panels make the structure take on a lantern effect at night, when lit from within, and I awe at the ‘luminescent presence’ of this treehouse.

Some of the techniques used suggest to me this is primarily a summer dwelling, much like a light tent, and that the shell is a barrier to wind and rain, but not a tight insulating structure necessary for the winter season. It reminds me of a birds nest, or hornets nest, built into the crotch of a tree.

I am particularily interested in the safety aspect of this design: the spherical cage acts like fully enclosed railing. And, the inherent strength characteristics of the geodesic shape means that weight loads from the deck and occupants are distributed evenly across the mounting points on the tree.

I suspect the rope and trap door access on the prototype is out of necessity only. A suspension bridge, as shown here, is much preferable. This kind of bridge approach would work well on sloped terrain, as discussed on earlier posts, to permit easy accessibility.

Looking at the images on the O2 site stirs my imagination into envisioning larger spheres that could accomodate a multi-story platform design.

This has to be one of the most innovative mono-treehouse designs I’ve seen. Its light, stable, and strong using a minimum of materials.


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