White Arkitekter wins idea competition for Kenyan wildlife observation pavilion

November 26, 2018

White Arkitekter has won first prize in Archasm’s idea competition for a free-standing temporary pavilion in the heart of Kenya’s Amboseli National Park.

Aiming to create dialogue between man and nature through architecture, the pavilion is a low energy structure designed on the ideas of durability and sustainability, giving visitors new ways to view and experience the wilderness.

In White’s proposal “Through the looking glass – understanding by observation”, the pavilion emerges from the top of a hill in the middle of the open park landscape.

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Creating a lookout, it is a place where travelers come to reach an understanding of the landscape through experience and reflection.

Entering through a sloping hallway made of rammed earth, visitors move through a sequence of spaces that create altering experiences through the pavilion. Windows subtly light the hallway and frame the park’s different habitats. Recessed benches offer space for visitors to appreciate the vistas in privacy. The building reveals its honest construction, made from three circular rammed earth walls, connected by compacted earth floors reinforced with wooden beams.

 

The earth is taken from the site and is compacted like the surrounding plains, trampled by thousands of animals.

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In time, the pavilion will return into the earth again.

Arriving on the roof, visitors are met by the striking panoramic view. Inspired by volcanic geomorphology, the panoramic deck features a central hole though which visitors form a deeper understanding of the landscape. Descending through an enclosed hallway, visitors enter an inner chamber illuminated by rays of light penetrating the roof.

At night, the chamber shields visitors from the park and they warm up by the fire that enhances the heat stored in the rammed earth walls. The cool shade in the enclosed space invites to quiet contemplation of the impressions collected in the wilderness.

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