As with any major city, the pace of life in London can be torrential and it’s easy to get swept along, so it’s always good to find a place where you can take a quiet moment to pause and reflect. Viewpoint is a new project due to open to the public on Feb. 10, that aims to provide Londoners with a secluded sanctuary in the peaceful surroundings of nature.
Commissioned for the London Wildlife Trust by the Finnish Institute in London and The Architecture Foundation, Viewpoint is a floating platform that will be located on Regent’s Canal in Camley Street Natural Park, King’s Cross. Inspired by the “rocky islets and islands” that the Finnish use as places to relax and get away from daily life, it will offer visitors a quiet place to sit and connect with nature. The commission was part of New Architects: Finland_UK, a program aimed at bringing together emerging architectural talent from Finland and the UK to jointly explore the ever-changing relationship with water that our cities have.
The platform, designed by Finnish architects Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola of AOR, draws upon design elements of the “laavu,” a traditional and simple Finnish lean-to shelter used when hunting or fishing, that is made with the natural materials available such as tree branches, moss and leaves. Viewpoint references the triangular shapes found in laavu construction, as well as the use of materials from the immediate surrounding area. In the case of Viewpoint, these include wood, but also the brick, concrete and steel elements that are seen in the local industrial architecture of King’s Cross.
As well as being used by the public as a serene hideaway, Viewpoint will be employed by the London Wildlife Trust as an outdoor classroom to host its educational programs for schools and as a destination for nature walks, with local wildlife including Daubenton’s bats, whooper swans and kingfishers.
“We hope that Viewpoint will have resonance beyond its modest footprint and allow the many visitors to Camley Street Natural Park to discover this natural environment – a rarity in a metropolitan city such as London,” say Aarti, Ollila & Ristola. “We hope that visitors to Camley Street Natural Park will enjoy Viewpoint for years to come.”
Other water-based attractions in London include a floating cinema and could yet include swimming pools in the Thames.
The video below provides more information about Viewpoint.