Chudleigh's eco-friendly, spherical (and Ewok-esque) houses are made of laminated wood strips covered with a clear fiberglass finish.
Most have strayed, however, from that lighthearted era and its accessories, including the tree house, with the many stresses that accompany maturity. That is, until now. Tom Chudleigh, a Canadian carpenter and founder of Free Spirit Spheres, has designed handcrafted spherical houses that hang from trees, buildings, or rock faces and serve as modified, futuristic, and adult versions of the child's tree house.
Unhappy with the current state of the forest, especially on Vancouver Island, where he lives, Chudleigh found it increasingly disheartening that loggers and residents alike were regularly tearing down trees for urbanization. This devastating trend motivated him to create a housing unit that would allow people to inhabit an ecological space without destroying it — a living space that would in fact help to maintain the ecosystem.
Chudleigh's dwellings, which can be used for meditation, photography, canopy research, leisure, and game watching, were explicitly created with the environment in mind. These eco-friendly, spherical (and Ewok-esque) houses are made of laminated wood strips covered with a clear fiberglass finish.
"The skins are waterproof and strong enough to take the impacts that come with life in a dynamic environment such as the forest. The structural integrity of a sphere and the ability to move and absorb shock loads combine to produce a robust accommodation package," Chudleigh said.
Each sphere comfortably sleeps four and is fitted with a working kitchen, microwave, refrigerator, and sink.
While the sphere may appear unusual at first glance, it has many modern amenities to ensure that all 21st century sphere owners are satisfied. Each sphere comfortably sleeps four and is fitted with a working kitchen, microwave, refrigerator, and sink. It should also be noted that the sphere's design is currently being modified so that it can house a washroom, shower, and sauna. And with those 21st century amenities comes a 21st century price tag: the current cost is $152,000 for a completed sphere.
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The sphere's design incorporates both sailboat construction and rigging-practice principles and is secured with three suspension ropes, each tied to an individual tree in order to evenly distribute the tree house's weight. Weighing in at 1,100 pounds, the sphere measures 10 feet six inches in diameter and can hang between five and 100 feet off of the ground; it is accessed via a wooden staircase and suspension bridge.
Chudleigh explained it best when he concluded, "I wanted something different. To enable people to move into and inhabit the forest without taking it down first. To live in and among the trees and to use them for a foundation. In this way the foundation depends on maintaining a healthy ecosystem. It also gives me back a magic environment right outside my front door."
A magical environment just like the one you had when you were a child.