Playa Viva Living Tree Houses Protect and Inspire
Eco-resort uses palm trees as living piers to support residences.
Zihuatanejo, Mexico (December 17, 2007)
-- Building a sustainable resort and residence community requires both creativity in protecting the ecosystem and ready access to responsible building materials. These elements led the Playa Viva team to design tree house casitas, or individual suites, to incorporate coconut palms as living building materials. Existing palms will be relocated from other areas on the property and used as piers to support tree house floors while strengthening the ecosystem. Fond memories of backyard tree houses are being recreated on the beaches of Playa Viva.
“The sand dunes are held in place by a vegetative network, a virtual fabric of life that keeps the dunes from blowing away,” said Ayrie Cunliffe, Playa Viva’s master designer. “The root ball of relocated palms will help stabilize the dunes and enables a construction design inspired by nature itself,” said Cunliffe.
Encouraged by government policies favoring coconut palm plantations, almost the entire native coastal forest in the Mexican state of Guerrero was cleared in the 1930s. As the export market for coconut oil dropped, many plantations were abandoned. Today, these abandoned plantations create a local and rapidly renewable building material for Playa Viva. Trees provide support structures and beams for tree houses and other buildings while palm fronds from locally grown fan palm plants comprise the casita’s thatched palapa roofs.
Although initially skeptical, the development team brought in noted tree house expert Michael Garnier, who has built palm-based tree houses as well as owning and managing a tree house resort in Oregon. The design team built several platforms testing a variety of techniques. The fully engineered designs withstood stress tests up to 4,000 kg (close to 10,000 lbs), more than sufficient to support a tree house with occupants and furniture. A willingness to explore new building concepts has enabled design of a world-class resort that strengthens the landscape.
“Sustainability is about looking at every single aspect of a project and starting with nature and what is local in mind,” said David Leventhal, the project’s founder. “Most projects treat sustainability as an afterthought, something relegated to glossy brochures. At Playa Viva, concern for the environment is at the heart of every decision that we make. Our tree houses reflect that mindset,” said Leventhal.
About Playa Viva
Situated on 200 acres of ocean-front property, Playa Viva is a sustainable resort and residence community located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. With more than 80 percent of land protected, Playa Viva is a special place where families enjoy the beauty of Mexico in the guilt-free luxury of an environmentally conscious resort. Playa Viva offers co-ownership opportunities in individual casitas built on raised platforms connected to living palm trees surrounding common, community areas. For sales and pre-opening information, call 1-866-482-8922, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit us at www.playaviva.com