The Treehouse Multigenerational Living Building
The Treehouse proposes a new typology for senior living as a community-based concept that integrates the benefits of timber with a design that improves the physical and mind health of older people.
The name Treehouse derives from the concept’s key feature: a double-height common area located four stories above ground level. Accessible by elevators, but intended primarily by a set of open stairs, this upper-level perch offers a constant connection to the outside world though aerial views and tree canopy sightlines, providing residents with an ongoing relationship with the changing seasons, weather patterns and time of day. Typically, multi-unit housing locates common areas, such as dining rooms and shared kitchens, on the ground level, with residential units above. Several benefits emerge when these gathering spaces are placed higher up, where windows bring in daylight. The visual prospect and sensory stimulation derived from aerial views is especially important for those who may have mobility issues and can’t easily venture outdoors.
The building’s design actively encourages physical exercise as a daily routine. We have transformed what could have just been a typical, functional fire exit into an open, generous, and inviting staircase, with multiple landings and shallow risers to make the prospect of climbing less intimidating. Even residents who have difficulty walking up stairs may find themselves able to walk down them, thereby helping to maintain their mobility and increasing leg strength. Steps leading to all the common areas also increase the chance of bumping into neighbours and having a pleasant personal interaction.
Two key elements of Treehouse are its scale and location. Topping off at six stories, the development can be inserted into vibrant neighbourhoods that become an extension of the building itself.