Architects, designers, and students around the world sent their most inventive ideas for the Kemeri National Park Observation Tower Competition. Entrants submitted proposals for a modular, accessible observation structure that would allow visitors to view the Great Kemeri Bog, located within Latvia's Kemeri National Park.
The submissions took on a variety of materials and structural forms and were evaluated based on elements like feasibility, accessibility, and environmental sensitivity with a budget of $50,000. In the end, the jury selected teams based in Spain, Malaysia, and Hungary as the three prize winners. A special “Accessible Tower Award” and six Honorable Mentions were also announced.
Scroll down to see the prize-winning entries.
1ST PLACE: “Funambulist Landscape” by Ernesto Urquízar Quesada, María Cervantes Lardón | Spain
Jury commentary: “The jury was impressed by the ‘funambulist landscape’. 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.”
2ND PLACE: “Eye Tower” by Nathira Haja | Malaysia
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 PLACE + BB STUDENT AWARD: “Black Box” by Hunor Albert Szántó + Fanni Zita Salamin - Budapest University of Technology and Economics | Hungary
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: “The Dark Hut” by Angelo Ancarola, Antonio Mastria, Salvatore Possidente Del Monte, Luigi Simone | Italy
Read more about the winning entries and honorable mentions here.
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