In 2012 I was at a remote site on the North Shore of Oahu for a residential engineering project (it's the area shown in the lower middle area in the picture above).  It was relatively boring engineering stuff (septic system design) so my mind naturally started wandering to something more creative - what sort of house would fit in here among the beautiful trees in a pristine site, located between the ocean and mountains, with the nearest water supply miles off, no nearby power, isolated from the rest of civilization and the site was affected by a large tsunami many years ago? 

What came to mind was to mimic nature, mimic a tree.  It turns out there was a term for it, biomimicry, using nature as a source of inspiration and going from there. 

The concept was a tree like structure, but with a hollow "trunk" to store rainwater.  The small contact area on the ground and weight of the water would strengthen it relative to tsunami’s and minimize the impact to the site.  The elevation would maximize views and the architectural look would blend seamlessly with nature.  

At same time I was beginning to specialize in foundation stabilization using micropiles which anchor deep into the earth – similar to tree roots.   This system keeps the foundation work and materials down to a minimum and speeds up the installation time.  I was also getting an MBA so the concept was created from the start with the goal of bringing this to the masses.  I spent several years going through many revisions, talking with potential customers while working on residential engineering and inspections projects and simply contemplating everything in life relative to this concept along with the basic pain points experienced both here on Oahu and across the world.  

The concept then evolved into what you now see.  It's an ongoing process, trying to do something fundamentally different with a structure so please continue to check back as we progress on our journey and provide any feedback you would like to share.

Nathan ToothmanComment