Forget Treehouses - Cliffhouses are the Future

In major cities around the world, buildable land is at a premium. At the same time, a continued trend of urban migration has led to a shortage of houses, inspiring a wealth of innovative solutions from architects and designers. Swedish firm Manofactory have literally taken housing solutions to a new level, questioning why we need to build at ground level at all.

Many animals, including birds, build their nests in trees, under roof tiles or in rock crevices above the ground. Humans already build simple nesting boxes for birds to live in, causing Manofactory to question why we can’t build nesting boxes for ourselves – a simple house with several rooms, windows, and climate protection. Pointing to the numerous cliff walls in cities across northern Scandinavia and elsewhere, Manofactory have designed the Nestinbox – a small wooden house with a steel structure to be mounted on sheer cliff faces.

Forget Treehouses - Cliffhouses are the Future - More Images+ 1

The facade is clad in horizontal timber to reduce perceived building height. Image Courtesy of Manofactory

As if defying gravity, Nestinbox hangs freely in the air with one side mounted against a cliff face. The design process began with the general blueprint of a birdhouse – a tall, light wooden structure with a simple sloping roof. This basic form has since evolved to develop a functional home for one or two users. The Nestinbox is clad with horizontal light and dark timber panels, creating a playful dialogue along the façade whilst contributing to a perceived visual reduction of building height.

An interior arranged around three floors provides compact yet functional living. Image Courtesy of Manofactory
The floor plan provides 50sqm of open plan living, a double bedroom, and studio space. Image Courtesy of Manofactory

Inside, the house is arranged over three floors, with a living area of 50 square meters bringing it in line with space standards of major cities such as London. Each unit contains a kitchen and dining area, living room, WC with shower, a double bedroom, and a studio space lending itself to future use a children’s bedroom. A central spiral staircase links all three floors, with a large void on the first floor creating a sense of space, cohesion, and openness despite the compact arrangement. The floorplan has also been considered to allow one side elevation to be free of windows, raising the possibility of mirrored Nestinboxes near or attached to each other without impeding outlook or natural light.

One elevation of the Nestinbox can be free of windows, allowing for combinations of several units. Image Courtesy of Manofactory
A void an the intermediate floor creates a sense of cohesion. Image Courtesy of Manofactory

Children have had treehouses for centuries – finally, adults have something cooler!

News via: Manofactory.

Big Ideas, Small Buildings: Some of Architecture's Best, Tiny Projects

Taschen's latest volume draws together the architectural underdogs that, despite their minute, whimsical forms, are setting bold new trends for design. When economies falter and construction halts, what happens to architecture? Rather than indulgent, personal projects, the need for small and perfectly formed spaces is becoming an economic necessity, pushing designers to go further with less.

Image gallery

See allShow less
About this author
Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "Forget Treehouses - Cliffhouses are the Future" 17 May 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

Nestinbox takes inspiration from birdhouses to provide an innovative solution to tackle housing crises. Image Courtesy of Manofactory


You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.