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Half-Tree House

Jacobschang Architecture

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Katie Gerfen

Project Name

Half-Tree House

Project Status


Year Completed


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2016 Residential Architect Design Awards
Outbuilding: Award

Jacobschang Architecture’s structure for a couple in Barryville, N.Y., literally sits in the trees: Cantilevered over a hillside, its single-room interior floats among the tree trunks to which it’s anchored for support. In fact, the Half-Tree House’s only direct connection to the ground is a set of footings at the back end of the building. The simple living space is flooded with sunlight through the insulated glass of three oversized steel-tube pivot doors. Its wood boards were milled from Eastern pine trees felled on the property, and the exterior was sealed with traditional Scandinavian pine tar. Juror Kevin Kudo-King appreciated the use of materials and “the way that the inside and outside relate.” Juror Anne Decker said, “The forms, in section and elevation, are just stunning.” The remote site lacks vehicular access, piped water, and electricity, so the building was designed so that it could be constructed mostly by hand by its amateur builder-owners. At just 360 square feet, it’s a compact, rustic getaway, built for only $20,000.

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