Lookout by henkai architekti with ZAHRADA-PARK-KRAJINA

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Landscaping, riuso,

An architectural project on an abandoned hill in an old sandstone quarry enriches the experience of visitors to the Beskydy Protected Landscape Area. The project by Czech studio henkai architekti with ZAHRADA-PARK-KRAJINA provides new paths and three little architectural structures as lookouts for contemplating the landscape.

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Lookout by henkai architekti with ZAHRADA-PARK-KRAJINA
Mediation is often necessary to allow us to enjoy our natural surroundings, as certain sites cannot be safely accessed, or are hard to reach for the unathletic. If a site of this kind has already been altered by human hands, as in the case of the old sandstone quarry in the eastern part of the village of Horní Bečva, the Czech Republic’s Zlin region, an architectural and landscaping project can become an act of reconciliation with the wounds man has inflicted on nature in the past.
The project by the architects of henkai architekti with the landscape architects of ZAHRADA-PARK-KRAJINA for the city of Horní Bečva is located in the quarry of the same name in the Beskydy Protected Landscape Area. This wooded hill dotted with scattered family homes is characterised by the presence of the abandoned quarry and the vicinity of the Rožnovská Bečva River. What was missing was a pedestrian access route to the upper part, and so the architects created three new panoramic pathways naturally following the sloping terrain. Together they form a circuit joining all the main lookout points, the nearby road and a parking lot.
The three paths offer varying degrees of difficulty. The gentlest path winds through a freshly planted grove of local tree species, making an important contribution to reforestation of the site. The architects built a small panoramic platform on the saddle below the rocky tip of the hill, in a shape inspired by the foundations of the abandoned homes scattered all over the Beskydy mountains. The bases of the lookout are dry stone walls, testifying to the fact that the local people settled in and farmed even the most remote places. The low walls can be used as seats from which to enjoy the view west over the Bečva river valley and the reservoir.
The steepest walk follows the crest of the quarry, where the ground is stable. Halfway up the slope, a metal grating bridge cantilevers out from the quarry wall in an invitation to explore, because walking on it improves the visual experience while providing a resting spot in the middle of the steep hill. It also offers an opportunity for close-up inspection of the rocky quarry walls.
At the top of the hill, three lookout structures in the form of 7.3 square metre cubic frames add to the beauty of the natural scenario. These ethereal volumes, positioned with great care between the rocks and masses of the uneven ground so as not to disturb the landscape, are emptied spaces defined by architecture which invite visitors to stop and rest in the middle of the forest. 
The main lookout at the top offers a view over the wall of the quarry and the hills and meadows of the surrounding countryside, while the other two structures are more appropriate for contemplating the forest of spruce and pine trees.
The pathways and walls were made using stone and gravel from the quarry, with oak benches along the paths. For safety reasons, a rope fence with oak stakes marks the edge of the quarry. The lookout structures were assembled with galvanised steel profiles, finished with a black protective coating, while wooden boards form the floors and ceilings. The flat green roofs are designed as rooftop gardens that will be naturally colonised by local plants and shrubs. The pathways and lookout blend into the landscape in a gesture reconciling them with nature, which has reclaimed the site.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: henkai architekti (Daniel Baroš), ZAHRADA-PARK-KRAJINA (Ondřej Nečaský, Zdeněk Strnadel)
Location: Lom Horní Bečva, Czech Republic
Year: 2021
Images: BoysPlayNice, www.boysplaynice.com


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