- The Guard Patrol, enjoying the landscape with Mjölk architekti
Historically, the places where the new structures now stand were the spots from which fires were lit to signal invasion by an enemy army in this area bordering on Germany and Poland, a true crossroads of central Europe. The signals were then received by other patrols and sent onward, towards the interior of Bohemia.
Times have changed, fortunately, but references to the past inspire the architectural design. The town of Rokytnice nad Jizerou was created by joining together four villages, each with its own patron and coat of arms, now represented in small constructions amid the rocky landscape typical of the Giant Mountains. This is not the first time Jan Mach and Jan Vondrák have built privileged access points for natural beauty; this summer our blog presented The Lookout Spike (https://www.floornature.com/blog/lookout-spike-lookout-point-mjolk-architekti-16923/) on the upper rock of Malý Špičák, near the town of Tanvald in northern Moravia.
The Guard Patrol project began in 2014, when the architects designed a series of small stopping places on the mountain above Rokytnice. As the town’s original intention of building a classic watchtower at the top of the mountain was found to be unfeasible, Mjölk architekti opted for the idea of building a number of platforms on the rocks around the mountain peak.
The inspiration for the construction of these elements came from local history, and specifically from the figures depicted in the town’s coat of arms: the Fox, the Bear, the Sheep and the Miner, who together form the „Guard Patrol“. Going on to look at the details of the construction, the viewpoints have steel frames composed of small parts that could be carried to the site by human power, as there is no other way to get them there. The steel structures are anchored in the rock with special steel anchorages set in holes up to 8 metres deep. The metal skeletons are then covered with oak wood, while the frames of the handrails are made of black-painted steel with stainless steel wire mesh.
The route begins with the Fox structure on the first cliff. Like the animal it is named after, „his long body stands on the stone, his tail sticks out into the valley. He can see all of Rokytnice and the surrounding hills“, report Mjölk architekti in their press release. The second platform, not far away, is inspired by the Bear and functions as a lookout even when the fog rolls over the mountains. Visitors then cross the third platform, the Sheep, on a walkway to reach the Miner, the last structure in the circuit. The highest point of the structure is accessible via a steep staircase, at the top of a tall cliff which local climbers refer to as K5, and is a reference to Rokytnice’s mining past.
Mjölk architekti’s four projects have become landmarks making it easier to enjoy the natural landscape of Stráž Mountain. All in aid of us human beings, as the benefits of nature for the health of mind and body are universally recognised, even if it’s only a matter of stopping to look out over the landscape around us!
Project: Mjölk Architekti
Location: Rokytnice nad Jizerou, Czech Republic