ARCHITECTURE / DESIGN

BIG teams up with ornithologist for hotel room with a façade of 350 bird nests for Treehotel

The Danish firm aims to decrease the downward spiral of the bird population in the Swedish woods and instead strengthen the biosphere and natural habitat.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
March 17, 2022

Known for natural beauty, forests, and a distinctive biosphere, northern Sweden’s strong climatic contrasts through the seasons have required highly resilient architectural types. The renowned Treehotel in Swedish Lapland is known for its broad variety of cabins, with each of the seven cabins having a distinct identity that reacts differently with the forest. The eighth, called Biosphere and designed by BIG together with Swedish ornithologist Ulf Öhman, will bring 350 birdhouses to the hotel, in an effort to enhance the surrounding biosphere and natural habitat.

— Inventories in Norrbotten County, carried out both by us as ornithologists and by the County Administrative Board, show that a number of different bird populations are decreasing. Forestry has led to a reduced number of natural holes in trees where breeding bird nests. The installation of bird nests is therefore an important measure to take. Furthermore, climate change leads to the insect boom happening earlier in the year, and by the time the birds’ eggs hatch, the boom has already passed. Feeding is an important support mechanism for the birds that stay in northern Sweden and require food during winter. Demonstrating the use of bird nests and feeding, not just at the Treehotel but for people to install near their own homes, is valuable. An initiative like this to take such measures may inspire their visitors to do the same, Ulf Öhman, who’s also the chairman of the Norrbotten Ornithological Association, explains.

Biosphere will be accessed via a suspended bridge that slopes from the ground to the top of the trees. The interior of the 34m2 hotel room features organic materials inspired by the surrounding landscape, aiming to further put the visitors’ focus on the natural beauty of the surroundings. By varying the individual sizes of the bird nests and expanding them outwards, and based upon the bird type and frequency in the area, light is able to enter the interior space whilst maintaining the outwards views. The guests get to experience birdlife in close proximity and exist in the epicentre of nature unfolding, surrounded by subtle bird song. They also have access to a roof terrace — close to the treetop canopies — that offer a 360-degree view of the forest.

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