A floating pavilion nestled in a Finnish nature reserve

In the Vanhankaupunginlahti reserve, Studio Puisto designed a prefabricated wooden pavilion dedicated to birdwatching, attentive to its impact on local wildlife.

Studio Puisto designed a floating birdwatching pavilion within Finland’s Vanhankaupunginlahti nature reserve. Called Piilokoju, the small architecture provides a quiet and discreet space while preserving a commitment to ecological sustainability. The designers have in fact worked in collaboration with Helsinki-based environmental experts so that visitors could be assured a close observation of the birds without disturbing them.

Studio Puisto, Piilokoju Birdwatching Hut, Vanhankaupunginlahti Nature Reserve, Finland, 2023. Photo Mika Huisman

The architects wanted the understated structure to prioritize users’ appreciation of the sorrounding nature – the shelter can accommodate up to forty people at once, suitable for school field trips and gatherings – rather than draw attention to itself. Indeed, the building's strategic location among the wetlands is ideal for birdwatching: visitors can easily camouflage themselves among the tall reeds, while the building provides a discreet vantage point from which birdlife can be observed without being disturbed.

Structurally, Piilokoju was designed as a floating platform, an enclosed wooden raft with concrete piers underneath, pre-built off-site and transported intact to its final location to protect the fragile natural environment . Piilokoju’s walls, floors and roof are made of Finnish larch, a local material known for its weather resistance.

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