Jan Vondrák, Jan Mach
Tanvald, Czech Republic
The design of buildings in the landscape is a separate architectural discipline. These are built against a backdrop of dense forests, fog, clouds, and hills. One works with on the scale of anthills, as well as entire landscapes, and the only real and lasting context is the starry sky.
The Lookout Spike is a part of a series of five lookouts that we have completed over the last ten years. This concludes a decade of our exploration into building in the great outdoors, one of our studio’s fields of interest.
The diversity of the individual concepts stems from the different approaches to each site, making the series a showcase of architectural forms, always based on a careful analysis of the site and the rationale behind each design.
The lookout stands on the top rock of Malý Špičák and looks down into the valley of the confluence of the Desná and Kamenice rivers. The Tanvald bobsleigh track used to start here, an important point of sporting activity in its own time.
The remains of the bobsled track in the slope of Malý Špičák indicate its former route. In a way, Špička also serves as a tribute to the regional heroes in tight overalls, who fearlessly rode their shiny bobsleds into steep turns in a desire to cut every second off their time.
The aim of the design was to create a small but distinctive architecture. A building as delicate and elusive as a dewdrop that barely touches the rock. The lookout has three thin steel legs and a shiny belly that reflects granite, trees, people, and sky.
The viewing platform, accessible by a ladder, offers a view of Tanvald and the surrounding mountains. The mirrored image on the curved surface below is distorted, the colors and reflections twist and blend.
The experience of looking at the building is never the same. Images of the moment flow through the visitor's eyes like rivers of endless transience.