Architecture practices RAU and RO&AD have crafted Tij avian observatory with a peculiar yet intriguing form and eco conscious design

JAN 23, 2020 | By Sakshi Rai
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT The viewing deck is made of wood and concrete; To combat rising water levels in the river, the lower portion is made using accoya wood; One can see a rich variety of avifauna from such curved viewing holes; The word ‘tij’ translates to the ebbing tide and when pronounced quickly, an egg. The name is perfect for this waterfront observatory, whose shape resembles the egg of a tern, a native seabird.

Perched alongside Haringvliet—a large inlet in the south of the Netherlands—is the new elliptical-shaped Tij bird observatory. Built by RAU Architects and Ro&Ad Architecten, the wooden structure is a short trek from the nearby Scheelhoek nature reserve. The structure is made using reeds, locally sourced from the reserve, chestnut poles and sand. While the upper viewing deck employs wood and concrete and has a pine outer covering, the bottom surface, which is prone to submersion in case the river water level rises, is made of accoya wood beams.

Recycled bulkheads have also been used in the construction of the tunnel that leads to the observatory. Owing to the use of sustainable and circular materials, the viewing cabin is completely rebuildable. “By making everything such that it can be taken apart without losing value, we have ensured that the strain on the ecosystem is minimal,” shares chief architect, Thomas Rau. The parametrically designed space offers visitors a vista of thousands of large tern nests, among other bird species, on the many small islands just off the coast of Scheelhoek.