Stellendam, The Netherlands
Designed by RAU Architects and RO&AD Architecten together with HNS Landscape Architects, Tij—the largest and most striking “Nature Artwork” in the Haringvliet—is part of the Dream Fund project.
The bird observatory was milled by Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.
A project of the joint nature organizations, in response to the Kierbesluit Haringvliet, on the one hand to enrich nature in the Haringvliet and on the other to make the effects of this perceptible and accessible to people.
To this end, a number of special places have been designated for bird observatories and viewing areas.
This bird observatory is located in Scheelhoek, a nature reserve close to the Haringvlietdam near Stellendam.
The area consists of a dike with large reed lands inside the dike and a number of islands outside the dike.
These islands are foraging and breeding grounds for waders such as the Common Tern and the icon of this area, the Sandwich Tern.
The plan does not only contain the observatory, but also a landscape plan by HNS Landscape Architects, in which the entire area of the Scheelhoek nature reserve is experienced towards the observatory.
In order to approach the birds unseen, the last part of the route consists of a tunnel made of second-hand bollards and stone bulkheads.
This tunnel is covered with sand as it is a potential breeding ground for waders.
The endpoint of the walking route is the egg-shaped bird hide from where you can view hatching Terns and all the other species that live in and around the water.
The egg is modeled after an egg of the Sandwich Tern, and it also lies in a nest on the sandbar like the tern itself.
The observatory is located in a landscaped nest of reeds, chestnut posts and sand. It is parametrically designed to get a good relationship with shape, construction, size and viewing holes.
The construction consists of a file-to-factory Zollinger construction, with which large spans can be made in wood, with relatively small parts.
The lower part, which can be submerged at high tide, is made of Accoya, the upper part of pine.
The covering is made of local reed, which has been harvested from the inside of the dyke.
The reed cover stops just above the highest possible high watermark.
The interior is accessible via a hybrid wood-concrete floor, from which you have a beautiful view of the breeding islands, the Haringvlietdam and the immediate surroundings.
Tij is a fully remountable, locally reed-covered, wooden egg-shaped construction, which was milled out computer-controlled in Finland, delivered with the boat in approximately 400 parts and assembled on site.
Due to its complete remountability, modularity and materialization, it meets all the principles for a sustainable building with circular potential.
Note that everything is temporary and it must also be possible to dismantle the bird observatory without losing value. All this to minimize the impact on the environment and the ecosystem on location, now and in the future.
For example, a system has been designed in which man and nature come a little closer together and man becomes part of the natural system again and vice versa.
Tij (name explanation: This is a Dutch word joke. “TIJ” means “tide” which refers to the returning tides in the Haringvliet, but quickly pronounced it also means “the egg”).
Tij is the biggest and most striking of a series of objects designed to celebrate the opening of the Haringvliet sluices in November 2018.
The sluices were opened in order to improve water quality and biodiversity, while also stimulating fish migration from the North Sea to the river delta system of Maas and Rhine in the Netherlands.
This will create a new, salt-resistant and salt-loving natural environment. The biodiversity in the surrounding nature reserves will increase and a more robust, healthier ecosystem will develop in the coming years.
To allow people experience and explore these changes, a series of bird observatories have been designed in the Haringvliet area.
Walking along the path, visitors can view several types of bird biotope favored by sand martins,
several kinds of waders and, of course, terns.
To prevent the birds from being disturbed, the last section of the path is actually a tunnel made of re-used mooring posts and second-hand azobe planks which were once used in the brick industry.
The tunnel is covered in sand to provide habitat for terns or waders.
The outside of the tunnel provides artificial nesting holes for sand martins.
Project: RAU Architects Tij observatory
Architects: RAU Architects and RO&AD Architecten
RAU Design Team: Thomas Rau, Jochem Alferink, Michel Tombal
TO&AD Design Team: Ad Kil, Ro Koster, Martin van Overveld, Athina Andreadou, and Louise
Landscape Architects: HNS Landscape Architects
Wood Contractor: Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland, Hannu Hirsi, Lauri Salokanges
Wood Engineers: Wood engineer Geometria, Toni Österlund, Finland
General Contractor: Van Hese Infra, Middelburg
Chief Contractor and Foundation: BreedID, Rotterdam
Thatcher: ELG Reeds, Schoonebeek
Clients: Bird Protection Netherlands, Natural Monuments Association
Supporting Organizations: ARK, WWF, Staatsbosbeheer, Sportvisserij Nederland, Postcode Lottery Netherland
Photographers: Katja Effting, Merijn Koelink