Bird Observation Tower
The Morning Star is a bird observation tower located on the shoreline of Lake Pape. Latvian rural communities such as Pape park are communities deeply rooted to folklore and nature. For centuries, folklore, biodiversity and agrarian life lived in synergy, creating a collective identity known as Latvianness. Local military restrictions and agricultural collectivisation and intensification during the Soviet-era broke not only Pape’s diverse ecosystems but also its social succession and cultural perception of a meaningful life. Through innovative restoration strategies such as ‘nature development’ and ‘new wilderness’, Pape park is today recovering its biodiverse fauna and flora and encouraging locals to view ‘wild’ nature as new kind of developmental asset.
merging innovation with tradition
In each stage of design and construction, the Morning Star celebrates Pape’s social cultural foundations and its potential for adaptable and entrepreneurial activity. Local craftsmanship and folklore deities inspire its shape and facade panels for better birdwatching experience. Cradle to Cradle’s philosophy of ‘design for disassembly’ is integrated with local and non-toxic building materials. Off-site rapid prototyping along with robotic cutting enables to build with precision and erect on-site in a fast and non-invasive manner while allowing manual-assembly with minimum environmental impact.
FOLKLORE INSPIRED DESIGN
The shape and the name of the tower is inspired by the symbol of Auseklis, a Latvian folklore deity also known as the morning star, symbol of light and hope. Auseklis is an eight-sided star, symbol of victory over darkness and has supposedly magical powers to understand the secrets of Nature. Lake Pape is part of a natural reserve park located on the western coast of Latvia, in the rural districts of Nica and Rucava. Auseklis can be found on several Rucava objects such as traditional clay jugs and embroidered shirts.
Patterns on reed panels are inspired by two popular local deities, Mara and Laima. Both symbols relate to the location and the purpose of the project. Mara is Mother of lake, sea and waters. In pre-pagan time, Laima’s symbol was of one of bird and soul. Panels at tower’s entrance are an homage to Laima’s symbol.
LOCAL BUILDING MATERIALS
The main wooden structure is made of timber, locally and sustainably sourced. Timber is the main export of Latvia. Birch, Norway Spruce and Scots Pine are the most widespread species in Latvia. Bridge balustrade and facade panels are made of reed.
REED In areas of the Baltic sea such as Pape, reed thrives thanks to nutrients load in air and water as well as the mild winters. Since the reeds grow rapidly and they squeeze out other plants, it is to the advantage of the various other ecosystems of the park to manage yearly reed harvesting. Reed is harvested in winter months and used for roofing and craft making.
Construction with reeds depends on the skills acquired in a number of traditional crafts such as fishing, net making, roof thatching and basket making, all local to the Pape area. Today Pape has a yearly reed festival celebrating unconventional reed crafting. We have inspired ourselves of these techniques for the design and assembling of the reed panels.
TRADITIONAL BUILDING METHODS
Tower overlapping battens is a modern interpretation of corner details found in traditional log construction of Western Latvia.
DESIGN FOR DISASSEMBLY
The Morning Star tower is made of overlapping standard size 75x75mm local timber battens that perform as a structural support and a building facade. Overlapping battens create 4 main structural columns that are braced together at platform and balustrades levels. The use of small elements allow creating of iconic free-form shape with a robust structure. This strategy provides optimal and safe solution for low-energy construction in remote area. It combines aesthetic qualities such as lightness and light transmission with functional qualities such as desired degree of rigidity or flexibility.
CRADLE TO CRADLE
The project follows Cradle to Cradle principle - design for no waste. All the elements have mechanical joints to allow for easy disassembly, simple maintenance, safe reuse and recycling of building materials.
Location: Pape, Latvia
Project year: 2017
Project status: Concept Design
Design: Bilska de Beaupuy
Design Team: Bilska de Beaupuy + Agata Banaszek
Diagrams and Visuals: Bilska de Beaupuy