The Korowai Tribe’s Incredible Tree Houses

Can you imagine living over 100 feet up in the trees? A people known as the Korowai tribe don't need to stretch their imagination at all because their lives have always been spent living in tree houses that soar high above. On the island of New Guinea in the southeastern part of Papua, the isolated tribe is the only group of people in the world that have established their primary residence in tree houses.

It's an intriguing way to live that, to us, appears like a daredevil's lifestyle, though the reason behind the elevated homes in the jungle is actually for safety precautions. The area, which is prone to flooding and populated with buzzing insects, proves to be a life-threatening and troublesome land to live on ground-level. As a result, the tribe uses labor-intensive measures to create each of their high-rise wooden homes atop trees.

As if creating homes on trees and managing to survive in them wasn't enough, the tribe's diligent process is yet another factor to be in awe of. There are no cranes or load-bearing machines to assist these men and women. Everything is done by hand. Even the few tools they use seem almost like they're straight out of the Stone Age.

A special feature on the Korowai people for the BBC documentary Human Planet shows one of the tribe's ambitious architectural endeavor. At a little over 114 feet off the ground, the incredibly impressive structure was built in two weeks. This also includes the towering ladder constructed to reach the tree house. The home itself boasts floors and walls made of tree bark and a roof lined with leaves. It's remarkable to see the Korowai tribe's laborious and incredibly brilliant efforts. Be sure to check out the clip, below, where we get a glimpse of their process.

Images via [Lost At E Minor, George Steinmetz]


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content