The long narrow bodies of snakes inspired the shapes of this pair of matching woodland hideaways that stretch out between the trees of a park in northern Portugal (+ slideshow).
Designed by architects Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Tiago Rebelo de Andrade, the structures each offer accommodation for one or two inhabitants at the Pedras Salgadas Park, a rural holiday resort on the edge of a spa town.
The architects aimed to "recreate the fantasy of tree houses", by designing spaces that sit amongst the tree branches. Rather than climbing upwards, the structures maintain a flat level, which gradually becomes more elevated as the ground slopes away underneath.
Both buildings are constructed from timber, but are externally clad with slate tiles that create the impression of rough scales.
"The characteristic design associated with the slates and the wood on the base suggests a snake gliding between the trees," said the designers. "Like a wild animal in its natural habitat, the house suddenly appears in the visual field of the observer."
Narrow columns anchor the structures to the ground and long narrow bridges lead from the hillside towards each entrance.
Inside, symmetrical interiors offer combined living and sleeping areas with a kitchen and washroom on one side and a toilet and closet on the other.
Sustainable technologies such as solar panels and water recycling allow the buildings to be self-sufficient, while low-energy lighting and well-insulated walls ensure that electricity and heating are used as efficiently as possible.
This isn't the first project Luís Rebelo de Andrade has worked on at the Pedras Salgadas Park - last year he collaborated with young Portuguese architect Diogo Aguiar on a series of woodland cabins.
Photography is by Ricardo Oliveira Alves.
Here's a project description from the architects:
Tree Snake Houses
Along with the project Pedras Salgadas Park by architects Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Tiago Rebelo de Andrade, came the challenge of creating an object that could recreate the fantasy of the tree houses.
The project for these houses was developed in partnership with the Modular System Company. The idea was to get an object that would be far away from the orthogonality and from pre-established concepts associated with the modular construction.
The characteristic design associated with the slates and the wood on the base suggests a snake gliding between the trees. Like a wild animal in its natural habitat, the house suddenly appears in the visual field of the observer.
The choice of materials gives an instant sense of connection with nature at the same time it establishes a coherent image of the proposal into a perfect symbiosis between the house and the Park.
The architects made use of new technology already tested in prototypes that allow a weightless easy-carrying construction. Native raw material, slate and wood used in the finishing also promote the integration at the same time it confers invisibility to the houses, not allowing these to take the chief role which belongs to the centennial Park itself.
Sustainability and ecology have always been one of the major concerns during the development of the project. The consistency and rationale for the intervention were attained by the layers and reinforced insulation, heating systems, water reuse, water solar panels, the low consumption lighting system using LED technology as well as the option of keeping the soil without any impermeable system, among other solutions. Each house comprises a studio with a bathroom and a kitchen.
Thus, the two Tree Snake Houses of Pedras Salgadas Park are objects that, using similar materials and technologies, point out to our imaginary: the primitive hut and the wild animal.
Developed by the architects Luís Rebelo De Andrade And Tiago Rebelo De Andrade in cooperation with Modular System the project also foresees multiple purposes, which can be adapted to different landscapes and climates.
More models of these houses like the Mountain Snake House, the River Snake House and the Sand Snake House, whose dimensions and materials are easily adapted to various climates and regions, are being developed and will soon be available to the public. It will then be possible to acquire one of these houses and to benefit from different situations such as coastal areas, riverbanks, mountain or urban environments.
Architects: Luís Rebelo de Andrade & Tiago Rebelo de Andrade
Collaborators: Madalena Rebelo de Andrade, Raquel Jorge, Pedro Baptista Dias
Project Area: 27,00 sqm
Constructor: Modular System