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Observation and protection of the nature of the Italian lagoon. Polish students' project with second prize!

14 of September '21

A team of Polish female architecture students from the Gdansk University of Technology, consisting of: Weronika Klaus, Joanna Klejment, Aleksandra Kreft won second prize in the international WWF Observation Cabins competition. The task, organized by Young Architects Competitions and WWF, sought to develop and understand the relationship between contemporary architecture and landscape. The competition was in support of one of the oldest WWF Oases, the Orbetello lagoon in Italy's Tuscany.

WWF O ases were created to protect the richness of our planet and the right to life of every species. The WWF project also aims to provide access to nature and, above all, to educate and raise environmental awareness among the public.

Punkt obserwacyjny ma
poziomie tafli wody

observation point has water surface level

© Weronika Klaus, Joanna Klejment, Aleksandra Kreft

observation of nature and its protection

The WWF Observation Cabins ' task was to create a site within the Orbetello lagoon consisting of observation points/cabins, placed at three different heights. Participants had to include facilities such as an observation tower, a point at ground level and a point at water level. The organizers also asked for the design of a visitor center with a conference room, exhibition room and bookstore, where the WWF could educate about the uniqueness of the site, its biodiversity and ways to protect it. In such a space, visitors could reconcile with nature, enjoying its beauty, appreciating it and discovering how important nature's balance is for the planet.

The challenge for the designers was to "rediscover architecture as a tamed nature, through which people can listen to the sounds of nature, delight in pink flamingos in their natural habitat or be moved by sunsets." Participants also had the opportunity to play an important role in protecting our planet.

Wieża obserwacyjna
pozwala na oglądanie ptaków w locie

A path sheltered by rattan walls and dampened with cork leads to the observation tower

© Weronika Klaus, Joanna Klejment, Aleksandra Kreft

second prize for polish students

The competition received entries from all over the world, among which the jury, composed of international: Sou Fujimoto (Sou Fujimoto Architects), Patrick Lüth (SNØHETTA), Kazuyo Sejima (SANAA), Raulino Silva (Raulino Silva Arquitecto), Mariana De Delás, Simon Frommenwiler, Nicola Scaranaro (Foster + Partners), Giulio Rigoni (Bjarke Ingels Group), Marco Cattaneo (National Geographic), Fulco Pratesi (WWF Italia), Renato Grimaldi (Italian Environmental Protection Authority), Gilda Ruberti (Tuscany Region), Carlo Alessandro Puri Negri (Blue SGR) selected sixteen winners. The final awards were three grand prizes, two honorable mentions and eleven special mentions.

Thesecond prize went to the project of the Polish team three times K , consisting of: Weronika Klaus, Joanna Klejment, Aleksandra Kreft.

In our project we tried to integrate the objects into the surrounding nature as much as possible, looking for a reference to the local fauna and flora. The second assumption was to interfere with the terrain as little as possible and only if necessary," the authors say.

Schemat powstawania

The viewpoint blocks were inspired by birds

© Weronika Klaus, Joanna Klejment, Aleksandra Kreft

nature an inspiration

In creating the viewpoints, the students were inspired by the birds found in the ecosystem of the Italian lagoon. The shape of a particular point results from the type of activity at which the bird will be observed.

Thus, the observation tower took its shape from a flying bird, the point at water level from a diving bird, and at ground level from a walking bird, the authors add.

Wnętrze punktu

The objects were made of natural materials - rattan and cork

© Weronika Klaus, Joanna Klejment, Aleksandra Kreft

The architects were keen not to disturb the animals in their natural habitat, so in order to get from one stop to another they designed a special path sheltered on two sides by vertical walls. Its surface was made of cork - a material that is excellent at muffling sounds. Another natural material used in the design is rattan, which resembles the reeds that are abundant in the development area. The walls and ceilings of the viewpoints and the tunnel are made precisely of rattan. The vantage points and paths have been arranged in such a way as to make it possible to admire as much of the lagoon as possible.

Centrum edukacyjne
przy włoskiej lagunie

education center

The competition guideline was also to design a center for visitors to the Orbetello lagoon. The students' proposal is a glass pavilion (divided into two blocks) with walls moved inward. This treatment protects the premises from excessive sunlight. In addition, the authors introduced rattan louvers, which, at their widest extension, will close the blocks and create clean, cuboidal forms.

Przekrój centrum

the center building is a glass pavilion

© Weronika Klaus, Joanna Klejment, Aleksandra Kreft

In building A, a conference room was created with folding walls, allowing the space to be divided into smaller ones, or used as a whole, depending on the needs of the users. The exhibition room (building B) has a tour path, with the main exhibit placed in the central area and surrounded by a landscape frame created with non-sliding blinds.

Also read about the Flamingo Observation Center in the United Arab Emirates by Alicja Nowak, Yaroslav Panasevych and Maciej Rodak and the recently awarded Monad project by Piotr Gajdka and Krzysztof Hendel.

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