MLZD’s Lakeside Bird-watching Centre Features Rammed Earth Walls And An Aviary

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Walls produced from compressed earth combine with timber-clad surfaces and glass to help this visitor centre for the Swiss Ornithological Institute complement its normal setting on the banking institutions of a lake .

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

The institute is situated on the shore of Lake Sempach to the north west of Lucerne in central Switzerland. It homes a non-profit organisation that research wild birds and their habitats, raising awareness of their demands between stakeholders like the Swiss government, planners and nature conservancy groups.

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

Swiss architecture studio MLZD was invited to design and style a visitor centre for the institute accommodating a new exhibition space and info services for the public, as effectively as a care centre for treating sick or injured birds.

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The new facility replaces an current centre that was located in a protected region close to the lake. It is now found outdoors of this spot on an irregularly shaped plot among the lake and a road leading to the village of Sempach, which informed its angular strategy.

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

“The architecture formulates a passage or entrance from the urban to the organic surroundings,” architect Andreas Frank advised Dezeen. “The constructing shapes reflect these distinct surroundings by reacting differently.”


Related story: The Cave is a rammed-earth and stone villa in a Mexico wildlife conservation facility


“The shapes differentiate the spacial and visual connections so the building appears properly integrated and much smaller than it genuinely is. But the shapes also refer to the restrictions set by the offered area and creating laws of the lake safety region.”

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

The centre comprises two angular structures connected by a massive foyer. Elevations dealing with the street are largely sound, even though the rear facades incorporate full-height windows that supply expansive views in the direction of the lake.

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

The building’s load-bearing outer shell is constructed from rammed earth making use of a approach involving the gradual compacting of layers of damp earth in a mould to form solid walls.

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

This developing method, which uses normal components and has a minimal environmental impact, was selected in response to a brief calling for a building that exhibits a robust ecological profile. Rammed earth is also extremely tough and has exceptional thermal properties.

“We developed the building to be integrated with the lakeside,” explained Frank. “Wood and rammed earth intensify this impression simply because the two components are located at the lake.”

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

A single of the building’s volumes is made up of a flexible exhibition room committed to birdlife and the operate of the institute.

The other houses an auditorium and care centre on the ground floor, with a understanding space on the degree above and minimally decorated bedrooms for boarding interns who devote time doing work at the institute on the top floor.

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

The foyer location characteristics a reception desk and entrances to the different amenities accommodated in the two structures on either side, as properly as a glass-walled aviary housing birds that are too weak to survive in the wild.

A informal seating location positioned next to the aviary permits visitors to observe birds in this enclosure, or look out on the lake by way of the adjacent windows.

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

“The exhibition area isn’t going to display living birds so the aviary and the lookout at the lake give a connection to the residing creatures,” said Frank. “We incorporated the aviary since it types a transition amongst within and the nature outdoors.”

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

In the foyer, the external walls of the two polygonal structures become internal surfaces with openings carved into them to accommodate doorways and windows.

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

The earth surfaces are complemented by wooden canopies above the principal entrance at the front and a terrace at the rear.

Decking and joinery including exposed roof beams continue the application of all-natural supplies during the exterior and interior of the creating.

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD

Rammed earth has witnessed a revival in recent years, with architects around the planet using it to create structures that are more environmentally pleasant than their concrete counterparts. Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao utilised the materials on a weekend house, although Herzog &amp de Meuron specified it for a herb processing plant in Switzerland.

Photography is by Alexander Jaquemet.


Undertaking credits:

Architects: MLZD
Crew: Claude Marbach, Julia Wurst, Pat Tanner, Daniele Di Giacinto, Roman Lehmann, Amelie Braun, Katharina Kleczka, Marlies Rosenberger, Regina Tadorian, Johannes Weisser, Samuel Wespe, Miriam Zenk
Development management: Kunzarchitekten
Building engineer (reliable): WARM Planer und Ingenieure
Construction engineer (wood): Pirmin Jung Ingenieure fur Holzbau
Landscape architect: Fontana Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH
Exhibition designer: Steiner Sarnen Schweiz
Rammed earth: LEHM TON ERDE Baukunst GmbH

Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZDSpot prepare Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZDInternet site and ground floor program Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZDInitial floor strategy Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZD2nd floor plan Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZDRoof plan Swiss Ornithological Institute Visitor Centre by MLZDSections Dezeen

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