A sculptural observation tower built in a natural bird reserve.

There’s nothing like seeing a beautiful natural landscape from an elevated point, whether it’s a viewing platform in the Alps or a tree house. Created as a landmark that also has a strong connection to its setting, this bird observation tower has an organic design that draws inspiration from nature. gmp Architects completed this award-winning project for NABU Heiligenhafen, a seaside resort and natural bird reserve on the German side of the Baltic. The area is popular with bird lovers and tourists who want to immerse themselves into a serene coastal setting. The new structure provides an easy way to observe both the birds and the surrounding landscape without disturbing the former. Rising to almost 50 feet, the installation dominates the flat landscape but also complements it with a creative design.

The architects designed the observation tower as a stylized figure of a sitting bird. Made of Siberian larch wood with diagonal bracing, the structure perfectly blends into this tranquil and protected natural environment. A staircase leads visitors to the top of the observation tower. Here, the studio designed a viewing station with glass walls that open to breathtaking views. Thanks to the elevated location and a telescope, nature lovers can study details of the landscape and the many species of birds that call this reservation home. This project has received the 2008 International Architecture Award of the Chicago Athenaeum. Photographs© Heiner Leiska, Marcus Bredt.

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