Winner: Atelje Ostan Pavlin (architectural office) in recognition of the regional timber construction „Tree Observatory at the Celje urban forest“ (Slovenia)
The tree observatory in Celje Urban Forest near the city of Celje is a public facility which serves as a platform for educational and cultural activities: workshops, exhibitions, concerts, contemplations, etc. This forest is the lungs of the city which breathes with its citizens, and so Celje Regional Unit of the Slovene Forest Service and the Municipality of Celje (MC) wanted it to offer additional content and initiatives for visits. Studio Ostan Pavlin was in charge of designing a tree house within this project.
The central part of the construction is a load-bearing cabin fastened between six trees, to which the geometry of the building, with six branches and median terraces, is connected. There is a twofold curved staircase inside the wooden tower leading to the platform. The observatory as a building is a specific place on the elevated platform and centrally focused around its centre as an interior for meetings, while its branches and terraces are distinctively directed into the surrounding nature.
The wooden structure is conceptualized as a naturally integrated poetry of forms which grow out of the location; it is site-specific and therefore a fusion of natural-organic and abstract-authorial “art language”. The wooden equipment inside it is modular and movable. The house and all of its elements were made out of Douglas fir wood which was cut at the exactly right time of year in the same forest where the house now stands. It was then processed by a local craft company and brings 0.713 tons or 28.5 kg/m³ of CO2 savings.