No trees were harmed in the designing of this eco-friendly treehouse

It certainly won’t be cheap, but this $2.45 million eco-friendly treehouse concept may give architects some inspiration for the future of home building. Designed by civil engineer Anthony Leung, the treehouse incorporates sustainable concepts to work with — rather than against — nature.

“I have been doing research in looking for sustainable means to work with, rather than against, the nature, to improve the resilience of civil engineering infrastructure, combating against the negative impact brought by the irreversible environmental change,” Leung told Digital Trends. “My recent research interest is to look at how the presence of mature trees could adversely induce subsidence, hence structural integrity, of adjacent low-story buildings.”

Leung wanted to change the conventional perspective that sees trees as the “enemy,” things to be cut down and dug up. “In this context, I was wondering why we, as engineers, couldn’t more intelligently work with nature to build a more harmonic built environment — like the eco-treehouse.” he said.

In his concept, Leung used living trees as support columns and to provide shade. Grass along the roof would help regulate temperature and rainwater runoff, which would be directed to a small wastewater treatment plant to be recycled for later use. To ensure minimal impact to the natural surroundings, no wood would be removed to make space. And, although the treehouse seems futuristic, Leung pointed out that many of the concepts he incorporated are already being employed elsewhere.

“Green roofs and climbing plants have been researched for years and have actually been applied quite widely in many parts of the Europe including the United Kingdom,” he said. “Other features, such as integrating tree trunks as part of the structural components of a house and coupling plant physiological responses to air ventilation system, however, are more complex subjects.”

Leung doesn’t expect his concept to actually be built but hopes that it inspires architects and engineers to explore more sustainable methods. “The point of developing this concept is to demonstrate how we can borrow the power of nature to create natural shelter for human beings in a modern, yet ecologically friendly way,” he said.