PAPE BIRD OBSERVATION TOWER
Lekker Architects | Internship | Design Competition | Observation Tower
Supervisor: Joshua Comaroff
Team Members: Oscar Korintus, Shunnan Chen, Mingyi Lim, Jason Tan
I was involved in the project from the very beginning of the brainstorming process to the submission of the final drawings. I was mainly in charge of designing the overall exterior, structure, and apertures of the tower, testing out many iterations of shapes and forms with different sizes and densities of twigs to eventually arrive at the final design. I constructed a Grasshopper script that would efficiently generate the thousands of twigs on the facade, optimising the drawing and rendering processes. All drawings shown are done by me unless otherwise stated.
The tower is found at the end of a softly curving boardwalk, leading through the landscape. It leans gently forward on a light cluster of timber posts and is stayed by cables connecting back to the boardwalk. It appears to project toward Lake Pape, giving it a sense of drift toward the horizon and into the vast, horizontal landscape. Its form is a simple, imperfect block. Its skin, however, is not a typical architectural surface, but something half-natural—more in common, perhaps, with the wetland plants below. The use of a natural, bundled façade made from small twigs has been used both to promote a sustainable bird-tower construction strategy, as well as to provide a sense of place and context. These surfaces gesture to Latvian reed-thatch architecture, an important architectural tradition that characterizes this region. This vernacular technique is both a cultural heritage and a way of building that inhabits the natural world in a sensitive and efficient manner. It is, moreover, intimately associated with the image of the Latvian farmhouse, a rural idyll of the Romantic tradition.