HOUSTON—MetroNational, the owner, manager and developer of Houston’s Memorial City district, has completed a unique concept in a collaborative and sustainable office of the future. The Treehouse, a two-story, 14,700-square-foot structure located at 963 Bunker Hill in Memorial City, is home to all of Memorial City’s development activities including, master planning, architecture, construction, and interior design.
The Treehouse combines modern design, innovative technology, and green building principles, serving as a collaborative environment for stimulating inventive ideas between the developer and its partners. True to its name, The Treehouse brings outdoor elements indoors, where creativity flourishes, as MetroNational continues to build its best of class mixed-use development.
The Treehouse serves as a prized office and meeting-space as well as a showroom for current and future Memorial City projects, demonstrating Memorial City’s latest design concepts for prospective tenants and the community at large. Additionally, the second level of the space includes an interactive wall, showcasing the history of Memorial City and MetroNational, providing guests with insight into the transformation of the thriving area.
“We take pride in being market leaders and adopting advanced environmental standards and practices that demonstrate our commitment to corporate social responsibility. The Treehouse is an inspiring environment that ignites imagination and serves as a creative collaboration center for us and our valued partners,” said Glenn Fuhrman, AIA, vice president of design & construction at MetroNational. “We are proud that the Treehouse is a highlight of our continuing sustainability efforts and the company’s dedication and emphasis to building for the future.”
The Treehouse which boasts a geothermal cooling and heating system, daylight harvesting lights that automatically adjust in response to changing levels of natural light, and a green roof complete with solar panels, rainwater collection, wind turbine and a rooftop garden. In addition, wood used for the flooring on the interior of the building was reclaimed from the Old Cotton Concentration Company warehouses in Galveston, while the exterior wood paneling is Machiche wood, harvested from South America. Inside, the design evokes the outdoors with touches including interior columns wrapped in custom-made tree-like woodwork and conference room tables made from tree trunks. The conference rooms, which are called Nests, face a wrap-around balcony that allows for the outer facing windows to be raised in a similar way to raising a garage door. To ensure accessible collaboration, The Treehouse extends its reach to MetroNational’s headquarters building via a steel and wooden bridge, which evokes the sense of an old-fashioned swinging bridge, encouraging team members to visit and work from one of the open offices or to enjoy the common spaces inside or outside of the building. The Treehouse is tracking to receive LEED Platinum certification, the US Green Building Council’s highest rating.
As technologically advanced as it is ecologically aware, The Treehouse offers on-demand wireless connectivity, wireless screen sharing, and interactive whiteboards for seamless collaboration. Monitors in the lobby continuously display media including weather, traffic, and energy-saving metrics for The Treehouse itself.
MetroNational says The Treehouse is indicative of Houston’s forward momentum as one of the top cities to watch in the United States. According to Forbes magazine, Houston is thriving—it has an art & culture index of 91, a diversity index of 77.1, a median age of 33 and a net migration in 2011 of 49,820 people. Memorial City’s development and foresight parallels that of Houston’s own. With access to a population of 1.5 million within a 10 mile radius, the mixed-use nature of Memorial City including residential, retail, media, office and hospitality, is prime to become the epicenter of where Houstonians live, work, shop and play and non-Houstonians visit.
As one of Houston’s largest owners and managers of commercial real estate, MetroNational is committed to being environmentally conscious. The company carefully benchmarks its sustainability initiatives, raising the bar each year in terms of the results for every one of its properties in Memorial City, which has three LEED Certified properties, with the Murphy Building certified LEED Gold in May, and the Nexen Tower and the Cobalt Center certified LEED Silver. In addition, Memorial City is home to six office buildings that have received Energy Star Awards. One of the developer’s newest office buildings, the Air Liquide headquarters, currently under construction, is pre-certified LEED Silver. Partners in the development and construction of The Treehouse Memorial City include Acumen Design for concept and design and Studio RED Architects, the architect of record. Anslow Bryant Construction is the general contractor for The Treehouse.