A Tree House as a Residence

A Tree House as a Residence

Treehouses Bebelallee

blauraum architekten took on the task of upgrading a post-war settlement with poor energy values visually as well as from an energy-related point of view.

The Bebelallee settlement built in 1995 can be found seven kilometers North of downtown Hamburg. With its heterogeneous structure and the large green areas the settlement is a typical example of post war residential building. The buildings are divided into all in all six bars of brick buildings. Except for a block with access balconies all units are double-story buildings with two apartments per story with a fully developed inclined roof. The complex is massive with double-shell walls and ferro-concrete ceilings. The fair-faced concrete walls consisted of yellow bricks.

The 104 dwelling units spread across a gross floor area of 9,600 square meters are mainly small one to three-room apartments. Due to this structure the units are mainly inhabited by pensioners. This is why renovating was aiming at adding young families to the tenant structure. blauraum architekten Planungsgesellschaft mbH got the job.

Energy Consumption cut in Half ...

In order to keep the trees and thus the character of the outdoor facilities, the architects have made the decision to increase the number of apartments. An important requirement was using sustainable construction methods. Apart from that, tenants should be able to stay in their apartments during reconstruction. The solution for these problems the blauraum architekten team found in using light-weight construction with timber panel pre-fabricated components. Wood can not only be produced in a C02-neutral way, deploying pre-fabricated components also has the advantage of a relatively brief construction period and thus a reduced noise stress for the inhabitants.

The fully pre-fabricated wooden construction has been faced with a rear ventilated shingle façade of cedar wood. The shingles have been left the way they were and take on a gray-silvery color during the course of time.

Thanks to the light construction the new setup stands out clearly from the rest. The used materials also established a connection with the surrounding trees, conveying the impression of a “tree house”. The deployed materials, bricks at the bottom, timber at the top, the additions are seen as structures independent from the old building. The up to two meter wide projections emphasize this effect even more.

The old buildings were renovated from a visual as well as from an energetic point of view. The artificial looking yellow bricks and the turquoise-colored tiles of the balcony facing made way for natural appearing fair-faced concrete walls, also consisting of bricks. The building shell has been optimized from a energetic point of view through the heat insulation in the back. The glass of the windows was replaced, the wooden frames, however, were kept.

... with double the Floor Area 

The new setup does not only stand out from the outside view of the old buildings, also its layout differs from what’s already there. 47 new dwelling units have been built on a gross floor area of 8,800 square meters. Most of the units are duplex apartments. This increases the metaphor of living between treetops. Generous rooftop terraces and loggias add to the impression of being connected with the wide green outside. With an area of between 90 and 140 square meters the two to four-room apartments provide far more room than the old apartments. This way the architects achieved the desired blend of apartment sizes and a new tenant structure with young families.

Living in the Trees

Actually, the development plan of the city of Hamburg did not allow such a build-up. However, the team from blauraum Architekten wasable to convince with their idea of living between treetops in such a way that the local authorities and customers finally granted an exception. The result is an exemplary handling of resources and a high-quality habitat.

Further projects in Hamburg...

Project details


blauraum Architekten


Completed in 2010


GFA new buildings: 8,800 m²

GFA old buildings: 9,600 m²



Customer: Robert Vogel GmbH&Co

Construction management: Kreitz, Kopf und Partner, Hamburg, Germany

Structural engineer: Ingenieurbüro Dr. Binnewies, Hamburg, Germany



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valyspin's picture
valyspin 12. February 2015 - 11:44

Even though the architect has used wood as the main construction material, this doesn't mean that he should use concrete or any other resistant construction material for this apartment building. Without these resistant materials, the construction can damage badly in a few years. Also, in the apartments should be installed the latest home products and appliances, like these heating and AC systems from Greatlakeshomecomfort.com to create a modern design and a superior comfort for the tenants.

jamesriyadi33's picture
jamesriyadi33 25. August 2015 - 11:45

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jamesriyadi33's picture
jamesriyadi33 25. August 2015 - 11:46

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tonybennet25_1's picture
tonybennet25_1 8. September 2015 - 17:10

How impressive! For those who don't know the building's history it can easily be considered a brand new construction. The residents must be delighted with the renovations, but the outdoor space can be improved furthermore. Using a mini backhoe, the architects can start building a pool for example. Such feature would make a good impression, both for residents and new home buyers.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 21. September 2015 - 11:34

The architect has done an amazing job here and the place just looks amazing. If you have a good amount of space in front of your house then you should create a garden. It would be good for you as well as for the environment. But if your property contains any big tree that might cause danger then it would be better to call a stump grinding services provider.

wilges.marcio 3. November 2015 - 7:29

Every child dreams of a tree house and I think if all tree houses looked like this, you'll have an epidemic of house removals all over the country as people scramble to get their hands on one of these! I would be happy to have such clean lines and pretty views for my home!