Treehouse architect Alex Shirley-Smith wanted to create a portable treehouse, a kind of ready-made, floating shelter that could be assembled in any backyard, wood or even city streets.
In 2010 Shirley-Smith released several tree tent prototypes inspired by spiders’ webs. “A spider always uses three anchoring points and the web finds its own position in space that’s a circle in between any of those 3 points. So as long as you’ve got 3 anchoring points this tent will find its own central position to create its own shape inside that triangle. The whole thing is sort of taken from spider’s web technology or you know, what exists in nature. Biomicmicry.”
After refining 11 prototypes, Shirley-Smith and partner Kirk Kirchev finally released a production model tree tent- the Tentsile Stingray. Using just 3 tree straps, 2 poles and one fly sheet, the Stingray will shelter up to 4 people in mid-air. It takes about 10 minutes to set-up and a few minutes to take down. And best of all, it is one size fits all.
The tent can be used as a camping alternative- to keep you comfortably suspended above any animals, bugs or uncomfortable rocks-, but the design could also prove the basis for a new type of eco-village. Kirchev dreams of one day creating a community of (much larger) tensile structures where portable villages could be mounted and disassembled in a day, leaving little impact on the forest floor.