modern treehouse by carlos zwick perches above a lakeside in potsdam, germany

25 years after the fall of the berlin wall, carlos zwick architekten BDA has constructed a modern timber treehouse on the historic lake property in potsdam, germany. drawing influence from the pre-existing natural and artificial surroundings, the architects built a passive house with sustainable materials, which integrates respectfully into its landscape. large wooden sliding windows connect the exterior and interior spaces, while the loggia seems to float above the water and a large maple tree grows through the living room.

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the house levitates above the emperor terrace and stands tall with the trees
all images courtesy of josé campos, unless stated otherwise

 

 

carlos zwick had been in search of the ideal site for his new family house for quite some time, when he stumbled upon the potsdam lake area. two shabby, timber-framed houses, both close to collapsing, wildly overgrowing copse on more than 4000 sqm and a busy state road – this is how uninviting this estate presented itself at first. at the same time, the plot was characterized by thriving nature, a beautiful lake, and the city was just around the corner.  ‘it was obvious to me that there was plenty of work ahead, but the more I thought about building a house there for my family – the more mesmerized I was,’ the architect says. 

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the living area fuses effortlessly with the trees

 

one of the main sources of inspiration for this project was mies van der rohes’ farnsworth house. therefore, the new structure was formed as a single-story house, constructed on steel posts cantilevered above the ground. the design was conceived to respect the natural surroundings, by integrating them into the architecture. the age-old trees remained untouched, too. 

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elevated amongst the branches, the house on the lake truly looks like a part of the trees

 

 

‘the water had me captivated and I thought to myself, how can I place the interior and exterior as close to the lake as possible?’ explains zwick. the terrace is accessible from all three adjacent, spacious living-rooms, while huge sliding panels made of oak wood grant a panoramic view over the water. despite the height of the living level, the loggia is nevertheless situated eight meters above the water surface, making the lake ever-present in the house.

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a lake view, undisturbed thanks to the stilts on which the house stands

 

 

the heart of the house is the large kitchen-dining room, with a fireplace, seating area, and a long olive wood table, which serves as a gathering area for the family. in the event that the circumstances of life change, the architect made sure there were possibilities for different accommodating arrangements. the house is designed in such a way that it can be divided into three units with ease. ‘who knows, perhaps we even start a really nice pensioner’s shared living community, or even a multigenerational house. everything is possible,’ mentions carlos zwick. 

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an oak rises in front of the loggia, with its branches barely touching the house

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the expansive lakeside terrace has views across lake jungfernsee

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a glimpse of the water is visible from the front side of the house

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the spacious garden area presents creative ideas of spaces for storage, thanks to the steel stilts

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the maple tree spreads its crown, reaching the sky through the living room
image courtesy of carlos zwick architekten BDA

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the dining area showcases the beautiful illusion of feeling as though you are on the lake itself

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the living room with the view of the lake

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a cozy corner with a modern fireplace that even the furry family members enjoy in the winter days

 

 

project info:

 

 

name: haus am see
designer: carlos zwick architekten BDA
location: potsdam, germany

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom

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