Inside the Boy Scouts of America’s Sustainability Treehouse - architecture and design

Inside the Boy Scouts of America’s Sustainability Treehouse



We never truly seem to outgrow the awe of treehouses. There’s just something about the immersion in the woods, spectacular views, and an awareness of nature that captures our senses and allows our imaginations to run wild. These things also make treehouses the perfect places to learn about sustainability ? and it’s from that exact idea that the Sustainability Treehouse in West Virginia was born.

In perfect conjunction with the initial reveal of a new merit badge aimed at sustainability, the Boys Scouts of America teamed up with Seattle-based Mithun Architects to create the 5,800-square-foot treehouse as both an example of eco-friendly design and an educational center.

The idea spawned from the history of the surrounding land, a 10,000 acre-plot in the forested slopes of the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Situated on a former coal strip-mining site, the area speaks volumes on the need for sustainability awareness, and the architecture is beginning to respond accordingly.
The five-story treehouse is vertically oriented to minimize its ground footprint and environmental disruption to the area. Spiraling 125 feet into the air, its steel frame provides views and interactive displays that teach people about sustainable living practices. Teaching by example, the treehouse is also a net-zero structure thanks to the use of strategically-placed solar panels and wind turbines. Plus, its incorporation of unfinished natural materials like Corten steel, reclaim...
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