Arsenit’s Prefabricated Treehouse Suspends Over a Terrace in the Estonian Wilderness

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Arsenit has created a unique and picturesque treehouse in the Estonian forest called Piil. The name comes from the Estonian word “piiluma,” which means “peeking” or “looking.” This nine-meter-tall retreat offers stunning scenic views of the vast Estonian wilderness while minimizing its ground-level presence.

Piil features a compact plan, with a total area of 19 square meters. It is elevated on one “leg,” suspended over a terrace, creating an open-air “living room” that is protected from rain and snow. Access to the treehouse is provided through a discreet door, and the cladding layer can be peeled back to reveal the impressive metal structure that supports the cantilever. The “leg” also includes a staircase, services, and a sports equipment store, all wrapped in hit-and-miss pine cladding.

The interior of Piil is designed to maximize functionality and comfort, with a focus on remote work and relaxation. It is made entirely of white-washed oak, creating a tree-house-like atmosphere. The living spaces feature horizontal surfaces that can be used as tables, seats, or display spaces, as well as vertical timber paneling. The treehouse includes a king-size bed, two working tables, a kitchenette, hidden storage, and a spacious bathroom with a top-lit shower. One of the standout features is the large window-skylight, which is paired with a hammock mezzanine, allowing residents to feel suspended amidst the forest.

Externally, Piil is finished with untreated, thermally modified pine by Thermory. This material requires minimal maintenance and will age gracefully, blending in with the surrounding pine forest. The rain-screen cladding with a square cross-section adds depth to the building’s appearance and filters light and air while providing shade and enclosing a ground-level storage space. The timber cladding also accentuates the unique form of Piil.

All elements of the Piil treehouse are designed to be prefabricated in a factory and then assembled on-site. This method ensures a higher level of workmanship and results in a well-insulated unit with triple-glazed low-E glazing. For heating, cooling, and ventilation, Piil utilizes an efficient air-source heat pump with MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery), supplemented by an integrated radiator or external condenser on extremely hot or cold days.

The first prototype of Piil was completed by Arsenit in early 2023. The site is planned to accommodate a total of four Piil treehouses, strategically positioned to provide stunning views of the Jägala River during sunset. Arseni Timofejev, founder of Arsenit, explains that their inspiration came from observation towers found in scenic locations across Estonia. The goal was to create a raised “glamping” accommodation that offers a unique and immersive experience in the forest. Future iterations may feature even taller “legs,” enabling the accommodation units to be elevated further into the tree branches.

Overall, Piil by Arsenit offers a stunning retreat in the heart of the Estonian wilderness, combining innovative design, sustainability, and comfort for a truly memorable experience.

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