Tubular glass house by Aibek Almassov could be built around a full-grown tree

| 25 comments

A mature fir tree would be enclosed at the centre of this conceptual tubular glass house by Kazakh architect Aibek Almassov, which may finally become a reality now that potential investors have been found (+ slideshow).

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

Tree in the House is designed by Almassov of A Masow Architects as an inverted treehouse, intended to provide an escape from the "sweltering concrete boxes" of city life.

It features a completely glazed and cylindrical structure to give 360-degree-views of a forest setting.

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

An investor was initially secured when the project was first designed in 2013, but they subsequently pulled out and it seemed the project would never be completed.

But a glass and solar panel manufacturer is now interested, according to Almassov, so construction could be imminent.

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

"Really it's not so difficult to build it," he told Dezeen, "the problem was to find an investor."

"At the moment, we have found two of the investors," he added. "One of them has owns a factory for the production of glass with transparent solar panels. He is interested in this project so we are negotiating right now with him."

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

Renderings show the tubular building residing in a woodland clearing with its uppermost storeys rising above the tree canopy – although the project is not bound to any particular location.

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

"The main purpose of this project is to offer an alternative to the bustle of city life," said the architect. "We wanted to combine the capabilities of modern industrial design and the natural wealth and beauty."

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

"And more importantly it doesn't harm to environment," he added. "This is an opportunity to escape from the sweltering concrete boxes and feel the present unity with nature."



The glazed walls and ceiling will reveal four narrow ring-shaped floors, as well as a spiralling white staircase that wraps around the trunk of the tree.

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

Glazed balustrades with wooden railings will surround the atrium on each level so as not to block the views.

"Climbing the stairs [in this] unusual house can be compared with the stages of spiritual purification, enlightenment, harmonising with the environment," said Almassov.

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

Images show the boughs of the tree extending outwards towards the glazed walls and roof, encroaching on the minimal floor space.

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

An entirely glass shower cubicle mirrors the tubular form of the building, while other parts of the conceptual residence are seen dressed with free-standing furniture that follows the curving walls.

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov

Almaty-based A.Masow Architects previously created a set of photo-realistic renderings of a concrete house that balances over a hillside in Kazakhstan. Like Tree in the House, ImagineHouse was also designed to isolate its residents from the noise of the city.

Images are courtesy of A.Masow Architects.

Tree in House by Aibek Almassov
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Tree in House by Aibek Almassov
First floor plan – click for larger image
Tree in House by Aibek Almassov
Second floor plan – click for larger image
Tree in House by Aibek Almassov
Third floor plan – click for larger image
Tree in House by Aibek Almassov
Section one – click for larger image
Tree in House by Aibek Almassov
Section two – click for larger image
  • Klaus

    I don’t think the tree will survive the climate inside.

  • Sam

    The tree would probably prefer to just be cut down.

    • Kay

      Haha! Exactly what I thought when I saw this.

  • James L

    Probably the main benefit would be not having to buy a Christmas tree every year!

  • H-J

    Needs some work still I suppose. In the third image below the slideshow the column clumsily cuts through the stairs…

    • Gary

      I don’t think it does. Have you looked at the plans?

      • H-J

        I know it does, see for yourself…

  • D/D

    Thank you for this most interesting article. I am an architect as well as a Bonsai enthusiast with about 100 trees in training, several of them are fir trees. A beautiful design and I look forward to seeing this project completed.

    I would recommend only one additional feature: an opening large enough to remove this tree after it dies. Putting aside the issues of insect pests, which are bound to reside in this tree, the presence of various fungi and the annual drop of old needles, which all together will provide a full time occupation for the inhabitants, there is the issue of dormancy.

    All conifers require an average of 1000 hours of cold temperatures at or below 40 F without which they ultimately weaken an die. Good luck though. My favourite part is the beautiful view with absolutely no sun shade protection. Best
    regards, D/D

    • amsam

      Yes, I hope they do their homework on the qualities and needs of an actual tree rather than a pretty digital one! There are solutions to all the problems you bring up DD, but they would all have to be thought through carefully. And I hope they do, because it’s a super cool idea and it would be great if it succeeded.

      The question about the temperature is the toughest, but making it a seasonal house, draining the pipes in the winter and letting it get cold for a few months, could work. Other questions are how to maintain the humidity and O2/CO2 levels where a tree needs them to be, and as you say, finding a way to deal with fungi and insects without damaging the health of the tree. Still, I hope they make it work! I’d stay there.

  • clou

    In maybe three of the images the tree looks like a fir. The drawings don’t show a fir. If a tree is enclosed so tightly in a building like this, the species makes a difference.

  • peter

    Building steams up, tree dies. House looks like rubbish.

  • so

    This seems to be an emerging trend for young offices to get started:
    1) Design a conceptual house ridiculous enough to garner plenty of media attention.
    2) Accompany the images with some pseudo babble.
    3) Wait for a big fish with the precise combination of wealth and stupidity to take the bait and commission the thing.

  • Concerned Citizen

    As others mention, little attention has been given to making this thing work. Indeed, his biological ignorance is overwhelming. That is reflected in Almossov’s own statement, “And more importantly it doesn’t harm to environment…”

    Does he even think about what he’s saying? All the leaves/needles need to be periodically cleaned with rainwater, but his contraption prevents that. It’s similar to putting an animal in a zoo, believing that it’s same as living in the wild.

    The drawings appear to show several different versions of the tube. In one, the toilet is beside the only door, so it would be the front door, and in another the toilet is opposite the door.

    And the stairs are helical, not spiral.

  • Josie

    Cool concept however I can see multiple issues on top of the others already commented that need to be addressed already for a feasible design:

    a) The drop of old leaves throughout the year and the cleaning it entails.
    b) How to get airflow through the building; I realise this is only a concept but how will they have openable surfaces to allow crossflow ventilation.
    c) Privacy to bathroom?

  • agagnu

    Back to the drawing board; requires further thoughts on the staircase tree and siting ergonomics.

  • kim

    Promotional marketing architecture, with 3D images for a project that would never see the light. Why even bother publishing something that has zero theory, zero poetry and 100 per cent BS?

  • Leo

    It’s like in Asterix. “Let’s destroy the forest to build a natural park in its place”.

  • Даниил

    Это дерево будет как в парнике жить в этом стеклянном куполе гринписа на вас нет.

  • Rafel

    It is for laughing, and please don’t talk about it as a green project. So much laughing…

  • McRae Anderson

    They would be better served using a tree species that could survive in an indoor environment. I wouldn’t want to share a space with a fir tree that needs a cool/cold environment to thrive.

    We’ve done that indoors but you need a 55 degree root temperature and cold air temperatures. Not what fits the human comfort zone.

  • Sarah Gibson

    Lose the tree, then the concept is great.

    • H-J

      Just give it time…

    • Fling

      What concept?! It’s just another attention snatching quarter-liner, that is becoming the lifeline of contemporary critics and publishers and promoters. The dumbing of the public including the academics.

  • Alex Rose Harris

    Umm… I hope the people that live in there like sweeping because that doesn’t appear to be an evergreen tree. Good luck when Autumn comes.

  • Gui-Hu Fookd Yoormum

    This house has been repeatedly brought up since 2013. There’s a reason it hasn’t materialised yet, it’s an absurd design! How do you account for tree growth, not only branches but roots? How do you properly control climate and pests? How do you deal with the possible death of said tree? So many problems without practical solutions…