Pape Bird Observation Tower
- by República Portátil
The idea of a tower in the middle of the landscape implies erecting a new landmark. From this perspective, our goal is to fold the horizon line by means of a triangular object. We picked a single point to erect a building that serves the purpose of watching the birds soar through the sky or watching them as they quietly search for a location in which to build their nests. We seek to place an object that rises silently, proposing a primitive and austere look. Built with natural materials, just like a tent or a vernacular refuge, the conical tower responds to the first necessity of providing shelter from the outside world. It is a building in which every single element supports one another forming a meeting place within nature.
On the inside, the tower is built around a circular space where two watching platforms are provided. These platforms are connected by a central staircase. The lower platform is placed at a height of 2 m and is the end of the access walkway to the tower, which gradually ascends to its 50 meters of length. This circular platform with panoramic view is roofed but open on its sides, allowing for direct contact with the environment while providing optimal weather protection. This platform is also excellent for bird watching in short range. The upper platform is located at 5.4 meters from the ground and allows better long-range watching since its panoramic view covers all the environment while also providing shelter for the visitors in an enclosed space, protected from the cold and the wind of the zone.
The tower’s construction was thought as a serial process, from its prefabrication up to its transport and assembly. Our strategy to achieve this result was to densify the framework and to reduce the section of its composing pieces. This leads to lighter and more handleable composite pieces. During assembly, these pieces reach the double or the triple of its section when they are connected to the others in the system.
The tower is composed of a series of 10 different types of labelled pieces. These are designed to be transported in trucks and handled by one to three operators. The biggest pieces (labelled type 1, 2 and 3) form the main structure. This structure is tied to a series of ground and wall frames, which contain the diagonals to brace the whole system.
The tower components might be transported in four standard trucks of 6 x 2.5 x 2.4 meters. The total volume of the project in its transport mode is 144 m3, which is almost half of the total volume of the assembled project (303 m3).
The first step for the pieces’ assembly is the instalment of wooden supports with a base of 40 x 40 cm and a main vertical axis, which acts as a pivot to organize the construction of the building. This arrangement is built by stories and corresponds with the specific dimensions of the labelled pieces and the way in which they are grouped.
The whole tower’s construction is organized around a central pillar which serves as the pivot of the structure. The external lining is conceived in woven vegetal fiber using local techniques. This is a main idea in the origin of the proposal.
Every section of the main ribs of the tower are composite pieces. During the assembly, these work together with the others when they are connected and double or triple their sections depending on the specifications.
architect: República Portátil | team: Camilo Aravena, Katrin Benhör, Maximiliano Gonzalez, Mariana Aguilera, Rayen García, Nicole Santander | collaborator: Prado Arquitectos | client: Beebreeders | status: Competition (2017) | location: Undefined | climate: Continental, Temperate | material: wood | environment: Riverside | visualizer: Studio | scale: 64 m2 extrasmall | types: cultural, observatory | views: 10.734