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Emerge from Water

Pape, Latvia, 2018

Proposal for a Pape Bird Observation Tower

Design Team: Hanaoka Ikuya, 千賀順, Pennisi Fiammetta, Paul Mok

(Work done under Takenaka Corporation, Paul as trainee)

It shall emerge from water.

Bird-observation towers are known as “hides” or “blinds” in some cultures. It is a camouflage that liaises between the birders and the birds. Iconic as it might be, it shall remain inconspicuous, if not concealed entirely from its surrounding. 

The boundary between architecture and nature shall be deliberately blurred. Mimicking the appearance of reeds and other aquatic plants, the proposed structural system conceived of dense and thin components that seemingly emerge from landscape. Bamboos interlock to form the primary structure as well as the façade that would hide the watchers from the birds. 

Seeking to minimize visual and physical intrusion to the birds’ habitats, the whole architecture remains as a semi-open system. It is hoped that by thickening the structural layers especially at the roof, the observation tower will become, to some extent, occupiable or even habitable to wildlife.

An architecture devoted primarily to observing is like an introvert. It seeks harmony. It stays quiet but it attentively, ceaselessly observes. And when night falls, when all visitors have left, it attains solitude in nature.

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