The Imagination of Architects


Matthew Chamberlain an MA student from the University of Westminster has designed a sustainable treehouse to provide starter homes on London’s streets.

CovSoc Chairman, Paul Maddocks, writes “I would have loved to live in a ‘Tree pod’ like this when I was younger, but not so sure about ladders and with my luck I can see me falling out of the tree, it would work great in large gardens, parks or woodlands, but not so sure on noisy traffic streets.”

The ‘Street Tree Pods’ are teardrop-shaped structures made from wood, designed to merge with existing or new trees.

Taking up the same amount of space as a single car-parking bay, each structure would offer short-term accommodation to a single occupant. Matthew sees them being occupied by students, young professionals and first-time buyers, or to people who are homeless or in the process of being rehoused.

Tree trunks would run through the core of each structure, providing structural stability and ensuring no weight is placed on the branches.

The trunks would be enclosed in an ETFE shell (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) is a fluorine-based plastic. It was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range) – a system that would allow water to reach the tree and run through to the ground – while a rubber gasket between them will allow the tree to expand whilst remaining sealed.

Outside, the leaves of the trees would be used as a natural shading device.

Each pod also incorporates rainwater collection, natural air ventilation, and air-source heat pumps, helping them to function sustainably, while cycle storage and a car parking space sit below.


Read more about Mathew’s ideas here.

What do you think? Whatever you think about the practicalities you have to admit that its imaginative!

Coventry’s Architecture Students will be putting on their own Degree Show from Saturday 18th May – Saturday 25th May from 10.00 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Room GS 402 in the Graham Sutherland Building at Coventry University. Why not pay a visit and get some inspiration?


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