Patryk Banel, Hamna Imtiaz, Mawadah Khalid, Billy Liang, Nava Mahouri Monfared, Hania Raza
Birdwatching in the Chester Meadows: Shakkei

The Shakkei (borrowed scenery), located in River Dee, Chester, Uk is a bird-watching sanctuary consisting of three towers and a pavilion, that works in unison to connect individuals to the borrowed scenery, wildlife, and greenery surrounding them.

Through the variety of height, placement, and space, each form creates a uniquely different experience for visitors and allows them to have differing views of the river and vegetation. These structures are airy and transparent, as they’re made to blend in with the surrounding environment. The natural forms and curves implemented into the pavilion and towers mimic the heights of the trees to further this blend. The surrounding landscape is preserved and meant to work harmoniously with the structures, creating a relationship between the exterior and interior.

Locally sourced and natural materials such as bamboo, wool, and reclaimed wood were used to ensure sustainability, easy removal, and achieve the goal of transparency. The bamboo on the roof of the pavilion is cut in half and acts as a draining system for the rainwater, creating an acoustic experience and replenishing the surrounding vegetation. The design of the 6 meter tall tower has a slanted roof, pushing the rain towards River Dee and continuing this cycle of water conservation.

The use of wool in the design helps with the concept of transparency and creates an enclosure. Additionally, the properties of wool contain an oil substance called silica which causes it to be resistant to weather conditions and less susceptible to rot. Moreover, the wool is raised to accommodate for flooding, and it works in conjunction with the wind and creates a calming movement within the structure. Lastly, since wool is a 100% natural resource, birds are able to use it in their own architecture.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.