International Architecture Competition

Kemeri National Park Observation Tower

Results

Foreword

Kemeri National Park in western Latvia was established in 1997 to protect 380 square kilometers of land that includes forests, lakes, natural mineral springs and marshlands. The Great Kemeri Bog is a popular destination within the park, where visitors come to walk along several kilometers of existing boardwalks, allowing them to discover the many unique aspects of this vast expanse of wetlands, its collection of wildlife, and its variety of plant species. The protection of this land is managed by the Latvia Nature Conservation Agency, a partner organization in this design competition that expressed interest in constructing the winning proposal.

Competition participants were asked to deliver design proposals for a buildable observation structure situated along the boardwalk system, that would allow visitors new ways to view and experience the Great Kemeri Bog. While there were no dimensional requirements or height limitations prescribed, the recommended budget for the project was US $50k. Programmatic requirements included wheelchair accessibility for the disabled, as well as the use of construction materials that are easily maintainable and durable, considering the bog’s humid environment. The competition also challenged submissions to rethink the current boardwalk infrastructure for its replacement by a modular, more accessible design. The jury evaluated entries based on their constructability, accessibility, sensitivity to the environment, and the potential for the designs to provide Kemeri National Park with a new architectural landmark.

The entries proposed a wide range of ideas, with a variety of structural materials and forms. Modularity was integral in many of the submissions, as was ease of construction with minimal disturbance to the protected natural site. Several of the projects proposed enclosed or semi-concealed observation spaces in consideration of the bog’s wildlife. While most submissions included a system of ramps to permit elevated views, some experimented with the use of mirrors or periscope lenses, and others with the integration of manual lifts.

Each of the winning entries is deemed to be constructable, with the potential to become an important architectural landmark and to perform as a new observation point for the Great Kemari Bog. The high quality of the winning projects as well as the honorable mentions reflects the outstanding level of work submitted. Bee Breeders would like to thank all entrants for their participation.

1ST PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Funambulist Landscape Spain

Project authors

Ernesto Urquízar Quesada
María Cervantes Lardón

jury commentary

The jury was impressed by the “funambulist landscape”, the title of this proposal. Three stories of light-structured ramps are hung within a clean timber grid. A visitor walking up into this structure would experience a “new sequence of relationships” among the landscape, flora, and fauna. The result is a well-designed project that is integrated within the bog boardwalk. Its components could easily be prefabricated offsite. Given the scale of the structure, the jury wonders if the project as shown could be constructed without the use of heavy equipment and suggests the exterior framework be segmented into smaller timber elements. The project’s simple structure makes it easily adaptable and scalable. The submission drawings are beautifully executed and clear in their design intent.

NEWSLETTER

ARCHITECTURE COMPETITIONS
AND AWARDS

2ND PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Eye Tower Malaysia

Project authors

Nathira Haja

jury commentary

The most formally striking submission presented in this competition, the ‘eye tower’ features a spherical timber structure that encloses a lengthy spiraling ramp, elevating visitors well above the bog boardwalk. The large vertical members of the frame are completed at the apex with a series of smaller timber elements that act as a type of brise soleil, and help to give the structure a refined shape. The jury believes that, while the submission is likely not achievable on a budget of $50k, it could perhaps be scaled down for feasibility. Additionally, the base foundation for such a structure would likely be significantly larger, bringing to question whether the project could be constructed without damaging the bog ecosystem? The jury commends the designer for providing such a bold gesture that would certainly become a landmark within the park.

3RD PRIZE WINNER+
BB STUDENT AWARD

Project Name

Black Box Hungary

University

Budapest university of technology and economics

Project authors

Hunor Albert Szántó
Fanni Zita Salamin

jury commentary

The project is characterized by a simple 2.8m-wide x 1.5m-long grid comprised of wooden structural members and clad in a shell of burned-wood planks. The long-bar form of of the observation platform is integrated as part of the bog’s boardwalk. The submission includes a series of sectional images that describe a variation of viewing experiences defined by changing patterns of perforations in the shell’s walls and ceiling. It compares the viewing experience to a moving filmstrip, and describes the platform as a black box defined as a “device, process or system whose inputs and outputs are known, but whose internal structure or working is not well, or at all understood because of it’s confidential nature.” The jury found this submission to be buildable and well-suited for its location.

THE ACCESSIBLE TOWER AWARD

Project Name

The Dark Hut Italy

Project authors

Angelo Ancarola
Antonio Mastria
Salvatore Possidente Del Monte
Luigi Simone

Honorable mentions

Project Name

In The Midst Germany

University

Fh muenster

Project authors

Clemens Berresheim
Alex Kirschstein

Project Name

Kemeri: Three Turn Tower Japan

Project authors

Katsuya Fukushima
Hiroko Tominaga
Benjamin Sykes Thompson

Project Name

The Camouflage Indonesia

Project authors

Himawan Prakoso
Arief Singgih Wibowo
Nur Arsad Eko Pramono
Ardyana Fahmiadi

Project Name

Sensu Tower Japan

Project authors

Masato Endo
Shigeru Yoshino
Tomohiko Watabe
Natsumi Nihei

Project Name

Take a peek Tower France

Project authors

Joana Correia
Guillaume Boitier

Project Name

Four-Leaf Clover Switzerland

Project authors

Simon Bolt
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