These treehouse tiny homes were inspired by Sesame Street and Minions and designed to combat ‘lazy and boring’ architecture — see inside

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Precht
  • An Austrian architecture firm designed modular treehouses, called Bert.
  • The quirky designs are inspired by cartoons, like Minions and Sesame Street.
  • Designers also see the homes as a way to combat “lazy and boring” architecture.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tiny homes are fashionable right now, but the Bert modular home isn’t like other tiny homes on the market.

In general, they tend to have minimalist, sleek looks, but this treehouse is oddly-shaped and almost whimsical.

Bert homes are “shaped by playfulness and invite people to experience architecture and nature through the eyes of children,” according to the press release. The homes were designed by Austrian architecture studio Precht, in collaboration with Baumbau, a startup that specializes in tiny homes and treehouses.

The designers talked about how architecture has turned toward buildings that are easy to construct and profitable, but “lazy and boring,” making cities across the world look the same. With Bert, they hope to buck this trend and show that modern, sustainable architecture can also be fun and interesting.

The first Bert structures will go on sale in spring 2020, and they start at €120,000 (about $130,00) with the option to add on more modules. The companies plan to announce further collaborations on more unique buildings soon.


Designers initially conceived of Bert as a treehouse in a forest. “How would children imagine a treehouse?” Fei Teng Precht, one of the designers, asked.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

The designers said that they wanted a unique look, and they were inspired by cartoon characters like Minions or Sesame Street.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

Bert is built from prefab pieces that come in a few different shapes and can interlock in different ways to create various structures.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

The designers imagined it not just like a treehouse but as a tree itself, building up from a central “trunk.”

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

Clients can share what they want with designers, who can mix and match different pieces to find the right fit.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

They are easily customizable to a client’s needs because of the modular style, so they can grow taller and wider easily.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

Bert was designed as a tiny home, but the potential from prefab parts could be multifamily homes, hotels, or developments in a city.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

Adding only a few modules, there are clearly many ways to expand the Bert to fit different needs.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

This GIF shows some possible combinations of dozens of Bert units.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

Or, someone initially interested in a smaller home could add to it as their needs change.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

Bert’s designers noted that buildings around the world are becoming homogenous, dominated by an international style based on efficiency and profitability.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

They said that architecture used to feature more diversity and climate-specific designs, and Bert is an attempt to inject some of that back into the industry.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

Bert was designed to operate independently, with solar panels on the roof, a composting toilet, and a water treatment facility on the ground floor.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

While Bert could be a long-term home, it could also be a space for tourists.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

“We believe that future of tourism is not in large hotels and mass tourism, but rather in special buildings that offer a unique experience. With Bert, we cater to the people who seek adventure, nature and inspiration'” Baumbau CEO Rudolf Obauer said.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

Interiors are decorated with dark fabric.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

The dark interior orients residents to the large rounded glass windows, which let in light and create a cave-like feel.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

The design makes the spaces cozy, and open up the inside of the Bert to the surroundings, in this case, a forest.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

The shingles are leaf-like, in natural colors that help the structure blend into the natural setting.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

In regions without forests, the designers said that the wooden structure could be replaced with steel.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

“We know that buildings like Bert are not the path forward on a big scale, but I think as an industry, we need to dare more, try more and experiment more towards a more diverse future of our cities,” Chris Precht said.

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Bert modular treehouse.
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Precht

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