The 10 finalists of the Tree House Park Design competition organized by the GAD Foundation have been awarded.
We thank everyone for participating. It was a rich and impressive list of nature oriented architects & designers from all over the world!

person carrying backpack walking on tree house during daytime

The Tree House Park Competition calls on young architects to envision tree houses in daily urban life as a new typology bringing man and nature closer together. The Istanbul based GAD Foundation, the organiser of the competition, offers a total of $15000 in award prizes and $8000 to the winning design and the opportunity to build the proposal.

The design project selected 2nd will be awarded $4000 and 3rd will be awarded $2000. Launched January 2021 with initial registration of “Statement of Intent” and portfolio due on March 15, 2021. Finalists will be announced on April 1, 2021. Designs will be required to be submitted by April 30, 2021. Award winners will be announced on Sep 29, 2021.

How & Where

The competition will be organised in two phases and is open to all young architects 30 years of age and under who seek to explore the ecological possibilities of architecture for the 21st century. Competition registration is free. The 1st phase will require entrants to submit a “Statement of Intent” of 500 words and a portfolio of relevant work due on March 15, 2021. The 2nd phase will start on April 1, 2021 with the publication of the 10 finalists chosen from first phase.

The competition is set in a 19.250m2 site in Istanbul, Turkey, in a forested area in the district of Cekmekoy, a low density residential zone on the Asian side of the city. It is home to 265,000 of Istanbul’s 15.5 million residents and has witnessed rapid urban growth in the 2000s and 2010s. Cekmekoy is today a mix of low and high-density housing but also contains natural areas with wildlife and indigenous forest.

Who & Why

Organized by GAD Foundation in partnership with Ege Yapi and Casper Computer. The partners are stakeholders in sites neighbouring the competition site and are invested into improving the surrounding areas for the benefit of the public at large with the cooperation of local government and agencies.

To promote a new natural urban environment based on living in forests and amongst trees with the tree house dwelling as the focus. The “Tree House Park” competition seeks to extend design insight into architecture embedded and in harmony with the natural world with trees and tree habitation as the focus of ecological design. This competition proposes generation of architectural ideas also for outdoor activities for a forested area that could also be suitable for implementation in protected green areas throughout the city of Istanbul as an example of the conservation of nature within cities at a global scale.

brown wooden table


Flowing Water
Swings and Ladders
Natura Observation Point
Stargazing High Platform
Climbing Elements
Yoga/Meditation Zones
Outdoor Event Theatre
Dog Walking Zone


The tree house in the modern period is an architecture typology distinct from the use of structures in trees built by prehistoric and indigenous peoples. In the premodern period these structures above the ground primarily offered protection from wild animals, enemies, and the flooding of nature that was hostile to human existence. The architecture of tree structures camouflaged among the leaves by indigenous people was an outgrowth of indigenous structures raised above the ground on stilts and struts. As such this architecture has an architectural language derived from vernacular construction and the availability and application of timber resources in forested zones primarily in tropic and subtropic climates. But over the last hundred years, modern tree houses have transformed to provide a spatial and sensual experience of nature as a building type with it’s own architectural style. An architectonic development of the tree house has resulted in numerous options for building in trees. Stay rods, fasteners, bolts, belts and cables are now used with timber to build modern tree houses. As such part of the task in this competition is to take a position on on the design of structures in trees and forests. Competitors should in the design adress the task of engaging a living foundation, the unstable parameters of nature, and user/habitant.

The main theme of the competition is based on the idea of a “Tree House Park” that will host a number of tree houses and activities set inside a forested area. The forest area will be organized as a park with outdoor activities such as a walking path and zones for physical activity to stimulate exploration and discovery. The tree houses and primary park activities are envisioned to be in and on a network of walking paths and spaces. The design strategy of the competition will be to retain the natural materials and character of the forested area as a nature reserve. The competition calls for a non invasive approach to the design of the park where a ecosystems are supported and new construction minimized.