350 Birdhouses—And It's a New Hotel!


Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group was enlisted to design Treehotel’s newest suite, a spherical treehouse covered in bird nests.Photo: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

This Mind-Blowing Swedish Treehouse Is Made Up of 350 Birdhouses—And It's a New Hotel!

The new design, created by Bjarke Ingels Group, is an architectural marvel.

Scandinavian design is now frequently associated with the popular Danish idea of hygge, which has no exact translation in any other language. However, the design world has understood it to mean a combination of sought cold-weather comfort and a Nordic-specific mood of calm. Hygge first appeared in the early days of 2016, and it quickly became a popular and long-lasting trend. However, Scandinavian design encompasses much more than just hygge. It was a 1950s Scandinavian design style that stressed a minimalist aesthetic: clean lines, minimal ornamentation, neutral and soothing color palettes, and largely organic materials. No other hotel in the world celebrates Scandinavian Modernism quite like Sweden's Treehotel, which will open its Bjarke Ingels Group–designed guest suite in May.

Accessible by bridge, Biosphere is a tree house amongst the enormous pines in the forest.Photo: BIG-Bjarke

Ingels is no stranger to unconventional ventures. He recently co-founded Nabr with Roni Bahar, WeWork's former director of development, and Nick Chim, the former head of Sidewalk's Model Lab, an urban living firm that provides accessible and sustainable luxury to the masses. And now he's finished the Treehotel's eighth guest room, which, like the other seven, is effectively a sky suite. All eight are designed by Scandinavian architects, including Snhetta, Rintala Eggertsson, and Tham & Videgrd Arkitekter, and they are all unique.

The space BIG developed, dubbed Biosphere, is a 111-square-foot sphere with more than 350 birdhouses on its outside. What is the goal? Guests staying a few nights in the new Biosphere should be as immersed in the towering pines as possible, and wildlife should be able to build a permanent home there. In fact, hotel co-owners Kent Jonsson and Britta Jonsson-Lindvall made it a point to hire local ornithologist Ulf human to collaborate with Ingels and his team of designers. human thinks that Treehotel's program will motivate guests to take action for their own local bird species, which are growing increasingly threatened due to climate change every year.

The birdhouses, wood enclosures, encourage the local bird communities to move into more permanent housing.Photo: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Jonsson and Jonsson-Lindvall, ever the environmentalists, chose the faraway small village of Harads over Sweden's larger, more crowded cities because it is essentially one enormous, rocky forest home to a number of bird communities. Furthermore, Harads has four unique seasons, each of which has a significant impact on the appearance of the town, which, despite the presence of Treehotel, still feels unspoiled in the finest way. Treehotel isn't your standard resort with hundreds of rooms contained within a large, intimidating structure; instead, it's a collection of eight guest rooms perched several meters above the ground. The Mirrorcube, created by Tham & Videgrd, is a plywood box accessible via a 72-foot-long bridge and completely hidden by the external mirrored glass.

Some accommodations, such as the UFO hut built by InredningsGruppen, are more modern and easier to see amid the trees than others, but all eight guest rooms are environmentally friendly and created to honor the forest. The ensuing ecological response from Biosphere, according to Joo Albuquerque, architect, and partner at BIG was the driving force behind the architecture firm's creative expression, and it's easy to see why: the new suite is just as much a temporary home for guests as it is a permanent one for birds. It's a safe haven where both winged and non-winged people can feel safe and secure.

With a clear glass ceiling, guests will feel completely immersed in nature.Photo: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

To cap it off, Ingels created the room with an accessible roof from which visitors can gaze out over the entire forest. There isn't a greater place to withdraw from the outside world and celebrate nature's beauty than at Treehotel, which is one of the sanctuary's goals for visitors.

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Hasanul is a Slate senior editor and the editor of Slate’s culture blog, Brow Beat.

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