At first, treehouses may seem like an unlikely choice of dwelling, particularly in our modern age. Humans, after all, are not natural climbers, nor does a sky-high locale lend itself to utilities like running water or electricity. Yet, somehow, we continue to romanticize treehouses in childhood and beyond, muses Philip Jodido in Treetop Hideaways: Treehouses for Adults. They were embraced by Medicis in the 16th century at their family castle in Florence, by the Swiss Family Robinson in the 19th century, and the many five-star resorts that feature bungalows within branches today. “The treehouse is morphing into a luxurious hotel room in the air,” writes Jodido. But why, considering their relative inhospitable nature, have treehouses had such longevity?
The book, out this month from Rizzoli, examines 36 different structures nestled in trees from Norway to Texas, and answers that very question in the process. Some people are drawn to a remote, off-grid retreat for brief respite from a tech-addicted life. Others, eager to embrace nature but hesitant about straying from modern day amenities, have found the best of both worlds in nature-based retreats around the world. “Two different directions are apparent in the treehouses published here. One is that of increasing comfort and modernity, including running water, electricity, and Wi-Fi, as well as construction based on sophisticated materials and equipment used in other forms of contemporary architecture,” explains Jodido. Yet, despite their differences in style, both approaches tap into the same inner yearning: to be immersed in the wild. As architect George Nakashima once said, “A tree is our most intimate contact with nature.” All in all, the book serves as a stunning visual ode to the arboreal architectural form we’ve dreamt of dwelling in for centuries.
Below, a selection of some of the book’s most spectacular treehouses—just in time for Earth Day.