tipperne bird sanctuary by johansen skovsted arkitekter is sited at the tip of the peninsula in the southern part of denmark’s ringkøbing fjord. with its unique nature, the location marks an important stopping point for migratory birds and is home to europe’s oldest continuous bird counts. previously, public access to the area has been very limited, but with the establishment of new facilities the area has now been opened to visitors. these facilities consist of such simple additions to the landscape as a bird hide, watchtower, workshop, walking paths and a conversion of the ‘tipper house’ research station. the new structures serve as objects in the landscape, each with distinctive characteristics and subtle mutual relationships to one another and their surroundings.

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
watchtower (right) and ‘tipper house’ research station (left) | all images by rasmus norlander, unless otherwise stated

 

 

the development of the johansen skovsted arkitekter bird watching tower was influenced by the expansive, flat, wetland geography and dense moisture in the air, together with the techniques of a local factory specialising in the production of cylindrical iron masts. the tower’s platform offers an elevated frame of the landscape, a space which can be either closed to offer a secluded position for bird watchers, or opened to the view. the structural system is designed as a framework which expands as it rises, allowing a small footprint to incrementally widen to support a larger platform above. all individual elements, including handrails, stairs, landings and balustrades, form a part of the tower’s overall structural system.

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
the bird watchtower offers an elevated view and enclosure for bird-watchers

 

 

the pre-existing ‘tipper house’ had been transformed into a visitors center and research station. the building now hosts exhibitions, a multipurpose room, dining room and kitchen on the ground floor, a library with work space on the first floor and alcove sleeping areas in the gables. the renovation was realized through a number of subtle interventions in order to retain the quality and character of the existing building. while the only visible alteration from the exterior is a new external ramp, on the interior new beams and columns replace and reinforce the load-bearing walls. red pipes, radiators and wind gauges draw attention to the research function of the building. integrated furniture forms a new archive for bird counts which has a textural quality reminiscent of the plants in the landscape and thatch of the roof.
johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary 
the steel-frame structure incrementally widens as it rises in elevation

 

 

the bird hide is a triangular steel structure which acts as a stopping point along a walking trail. visitors enter a raised, hidden platform, from which wildlife might be seen up-close through a narrow slot opening. the structure is assembled using 6 mm plates of corten steel, with edge reinforcements which simultaneously function as assembly profiles and gutters whilst connecting the structure into the terrain. 

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
the tower occupies a small footprint

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
50 mm and 65 mm diameter columns and diagonals take compression forces

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
22 mm diameter cylindrical iron bars, which form both the balustrade and handrails, transfer tensile forces

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
the ‘tipper house’ research station

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary 
red pipes and radiators reference the research function of the building

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
new interior beams and columns replace and reinforce the load-bearing walls

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
integrated furniture has a textural quality reminiscent of the plants in the landscape and thatch of the roof

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
alcove sleeping areas occupy the gables of the house

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
the steel ‘bird hide’ acts as a rest area along a walking trail

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
a raised, hidden platform allows up-close wildlife observation through a narrow slot opening

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
the structure is assembled using 6 mm plates of corten steel

johansen skovsted arkitekter tipperne bird sanctuary
image courtesy of johansen skovsted arkitekter

 

 

project info:

 

architect: johansen skovsted arkitekter
location: tipperne, ringkøbing fjord, denmark

year of construction: 2017

client: the danish nature agency

site analysis and programme with: christoffer thorborg

in collaboration with: bertelsen & scheving arkitekter

financially supported by: realdania – stedet tæller

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