Large Home Tree / Ignatov Architects

© Courtesy of

Architects: Ignatov Architects
Location: Varna,
Client: George Bonin
Project Area: 780 sqm
Project Year: 2006-2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Ignatov Architects

Commissioned by the well-known art supporter and successful businessman George Bonin and developed by the New York based firm Ignatov Architects, the Home Tree concept is an attempt for defining contemporary, adaptable rural architecture. Its strategy is based on learning from existing trees on site recognizing their natural optimization for the given location and climate. The aim is to align architecture with nature and deliver site-conscious, clean, energy-independent and feasible buildings. In opposition to the Treehouse typology, which presents parasitic dwellings burdening existing trees, the Home Tree concept focuses on developing free-standing, tree-inspired architecture. Besides the usual residential program, each Home Tree house consists of three integral parts that parallel actual trees:

concept diagrams
© Courtesy of Ignatov Architects
  • Productive interior garden (crown)
  • Central cantilevered structure (trunk and branches)
  • Geothermal energy exchanger (roots)

Subparts and systems also work in line with the natural prototype: glazed facades and solar panels utilize sunlight, reversed roof channels rainwater for irrigation, rough multilayered veneers provide insulation and moisture barrier, multifunctional vertical core distributes communications and utilities.

© Courtesy of Ignatov Architects

Each Home Tree project follows these five principles of design:

  1. Adaptability: the building shall adapt to site, not modify it.
  2. Integrity: architecture, structure and all utility systems shall work together and emerge from each other functionally and aesthetically.
  3. Efficiency: construction and maintenance shall require minimal material and energy.
  4. Independence: building shall be self-sustaining through usage of renewable energy systems and waste recycling.
  5. Feasibility: employed green strategies shall pay back within 10 years of use.
© Courtesy of Ignatov Architects
© Courtesy of Ignatov Architects

The Home Tree concept has been applied in real life in two instances – Large Home Tree (main house) and Small Home Tree (guest house). Thanks to this rare opportunity the idea has been explored all the way from theory to realization to feedback in two different scales and configurations. The collected data and achieved results in energy performance and quality of habitation have proved the feasibility of the effort.

Cite: "Large Home Tree / Ignatov Architects" 22 Sep 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    some people think that sketch itself is a concept!
    comparison with the tree is funny…

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    People, this is experimental work. It doesn’t care about fitting in your useless categories of style. It is about performance and about being green without being necessary sweet. Sharing new stuff is great.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    The top floor is in reality a huge one car garage with the best view, the best space, skylights, double height and ceramic tiles floor! The whole design is just wrong.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Does it really matter how many “green” features are included in an 8,400 square foot country home built on undeveloped land?

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    If you are using the tree analogy…look at a few trees. They are a bit more delicate than your solution. I would imagine a far more organic form than a simple block with ‘leaf’ pattern windows. Too simplistic for me.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The looks….yeah. Green….not no, but hell no. Can you tell me how much energy (hydrocarbon energy) this building would use to cool itself in the summer and to heat itself in the winter? What’s the total area of glass employed in this green building? Good looks, but not energy efficient.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    these attempts to rationalize a bit of whimsy with seemingly high concept is absurd. what an enormous amount of resources spent on a puerile idea

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I think the work done on the exterior walls is nice, the facade’ looks original and creative at some point. the interiors though dont look as much creative.

    The pool area needs real hard work also.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down -3

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Guys, thanks for your time and effort to post your personal opinions. Apart from the bitter and sorry-sounding one-word remarks, the question of the sustainable performance of the building is important and here is some additional info for your consideration:
    1. Construction market in Bulgaria is quite different from the UK or US. Cast in place concrete is the most common building method here and the whole house does not cost more than a typical suburban stick&board house in UK. If the money is energy, who is wasting more resources then?
    2. In the summer the house provides great comfort without using any AC. Impossible? No, it is simply opaque to the West and the huge thermal mass of the hill in which it is incorporated cools it down. One related problem is condensation in the cellar but it was solved by providing drainage.
    3. Heat loss through the glass in the winter is obviously unavoidable for any glazed interior garden. What we do here is to compensate for it not by burning oil, but by the employment of a geothermal system. It uses electricity for running the pumps only, not for the actual heating. More info here, our system is on page 5:
    4. The interior garden still needs to be populated with plants. Sorry for the early images.
    Thanks again for your interest in our project.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I really like the simple concept of referring to a tree. The result however seems like it needed more time on the drawing table.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      You didn’t address one of the questions: does it really matter how many “green” features are included in an 8,400 square foot country home built on undeveloped land?… This project is pure greenwash.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Oh, I missed that question probably because the answer is quite obvious: “Yes, it does!” and everybody knows it. Don’t you think it matters for every project built on Earth?
        You sound very angry and confident without even knowing anything about the site. Your “undeveloped land” used to be a local sand quarry in the past and a garbage dump later. We cleaned it up, inserted the house into the former pit and restored the hill slope around. I am glad it looks undeveloped to you now.

    • Thumb up Thumb down +2

      Fair enough about reclaiming a garbage dump, It was not explained before.
      But it is still a huge house, tons of embodied energy and materials. People can be far more efficient living in urban areas in compact housing. Huge homes for small families can hardly be sustainable, regardless of how much “green gizmos” you put into them. Of course there are exceptions, in some big homes people grow their own backyard food, compost all their waste (including body waste), and don’t commute to work, among other things. Judging by the information given, this project does not have that. (unless it hasn’t been mentioned)

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    We should also think about the project context and not look at every archdaily posts like if it was budgeted for a Foster’s project…

  12. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    This house is actually amazing with its concept, simplicity and lack of design gimmicks. Structure does what it is supposed to do and construction methods are not tortured with any alien to them “organic” form making. It is nothing that you see every day. Maybe that’s why it scandalized the folks here. Good work, keep going.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      “ methods are not tortured with any alien to them “organic” form making.” – yeah, they get tortured with ‘concept’ form making instead.

  13. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    10 people , 10 opinions….”Opinions are like as******s. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks….” . Keep up the good work . I really like it , except you could use wooden flooring instead of tiled floors…it would have blend with the house surroundings -again just my opinion ! Overall welldone project ! Greetings from BG.

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Hello, my name is steven, a chinese college students, the environmental art design. in search of a lot of information, we have in this beautiful hometree to make a model, has now completed the building, but without the mountian image(bird’s-eye view) , the environment can’t continue ,so i need your help, if possible, i hope you can contact you, my mailbox hhy6791793 @ sina. com is, i expect your reply

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Hello, my name is steven, a chinese college students, the environmental art design. in search of a lot of information, we have in this beautiful hometree to make a model, has now completed the building,

  16. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    Good Job!!
    An admirable effort worth the support!!
    Forget the mordaceous remarks……
    You can’t make everyone happy….

  17. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Nice architecture, but screwed up interior design. The modern architectural concept should be kept on the space organization too. Just curious, Mr. Ignatov who did the interior design?
    Anyway, congrats on the project, it is different and I like it!

  18. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i came here for the comments ^^..

    the materials are just out of control ..there’s just too many of them. but i guess the client was to blame for that one.

    overall,interesting interpretation of “green” architecture

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