The Austrian architectural firm Precht recently presented ‘Bert’, a conceptual modular ‘tree house’ in the form of an abstract tree trunk, the floors are equipped with large round windows.
The striking designs are inspired by children’s programs such as Sesame Street and Minions. The architects also see the houses as a way to combat ‘lazy and boring’ architecture.
Precht was founded by the Chris and Fei Tang Precht couple. They have developed Bert for the Baumbau startup specialized in small houses. In the development of Bert, they were inspired by cartoon characters, such as those from Minions or from Sesame Street. The name Bert is therefore a reference to the eponymous character from Sesame Street.
‘Tiny homes’ are currently very fashionable, but the modular tree house ‘Bert’ is very different from all other ‘tiny houses’. In general, ‘tiny houses’ have a sleek and minimalist appearance, but these tree houses are very special and playful in form and invite people to experience architecture and nature through the eyes of children.
We know that houses like Bert are not going to be built on a very large scale, but our sector must dare to do more, try more and experiment more for a more diverse future for our cities.
The design process for Bert began by depicting a drawing of a tree house by a child. “Regardless of whether we are young or old, we architects also have an inner child who looks at the world in a playful and curious way,” says Fei Tang Precht. “That curiosity has led to Bert”.
Bert’s modules contain kitchens, living spaces, bedrooms and bathrooms that can be placed on top of each other or next to each other. The concept is intended to be made from wood. Thanks to a covering of wooden leaves, Bert fits perfect in a woody environment.
The design makes the living space cozy and ensures that Bert’s interior is really in contact with the environment, in this case a forest. The interior is designed to be dark and cozy, with large round windows and balconies like the eyes of a cartoon character to frame views of the landscape.
Here the interior is covered with a dark fabric. Through the dark interior, the residents are drawn to the large round windows, which let in a lot of light and give a cave feeling.
Bert stands on a circular base with tubular modular cells that contain kitchens, living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms that can be stacked over and around it like the limbs of a tree branching out from the trunk.
The tree house is made of wood, with leaf-like shingles with natural colors to blend the tiny-houses into their wooded surroundings. But the wooden structure can be replaced by steel if desired, say the architects.
Bert is largely self-sufficient with solar panels on the roof, a compost toilet and a water treatment plant on the ground floor.
Bert is designed to be pre-fabricated off-site in a factory then assembled on site. More modules could be added and stacked on top of each other to expand each treehouse.
We think that the future of tourism does not lie in large hotels and mass tourism, but in special buildings that offer a unique experience. With Bert we want to attract people who are looking for adventure, nature and inspiration.
Rudolf Obauer, CEO Baumbau
The Tiny-houses can stand on their own but can also be placed together as a community. Bert can serve as a real home, but according to Precht and Baumbau, the Bert system could be used for hotels.
The first ‘Bert’ houses will go on sale in the spring of 2020 with a starting price of around € 120,000 with the option to add more modules.
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