Camley Street Natural Park floating viewpoint competition
The floating viewpoint is located on the bend of the river and it can be seen from the opposite side of the canal and from the new bridge. The tar black form of the platform changes according to the view angle and finally reveals its warm inside when viewed from the northern end of the river. The viewpoint is a shelter that protects observation of wildlife from outside disturbances. It creates a protective nest that allows for the visitor to fully emerge into the subjective multi-sensory experience and to observe the life on the banks and inside the park. The form language is derived from natural forms and also has resemblance to old naval design.
The viewpoint uses wood material’s natural material properties to provide the structural feasibility and aesthetic appeal. Wood is used in many different ways and in combining modern machining techniques, such as CNC milling as well as ancient protective techniques as tarring. It is a symbiotic union of old and new techniques, but in common is the low environmental impact, easy productibility and the material’s suitability to the unique nature of the building site.

The viewpoint is constructed over a platform of floating pontoon modules that carry its full weight and offers the floating foundation. The backbones of the walls are CNC milled 24mm film plywood fins that create the form and the main structural support for the whole form. The primary fins are connected to the pontoon platform and together create a stiff frame of the form. On top of the primary fins, a secondary layer of a light weight rib structure is joined that refines the overall form and offers stability as well as connection points for the under cladding of the shingles.

Though the viewpoint’s walls are doubly curved, the production is simple and straight forward. It takes full advantage of the recycled wood material; for the under cladding as well as for the shingles themselves can be made of various types and sizes of wood. The structure itself is simple and lightweight and while expressive and impressive in form, not complicated to construct. The primary and secondary milled structure aside, it can be constructed using simple woodworking methods and tools.


The Finnish Institute in London
The Architecture Foundation
invitational competition
Architecture office Heikki Muntola
Architecture Office Österlund
Lisa Voigtländer