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UMA releases Trunk observation Tower that is carved out from one dead tree
Sweden Architecture News - Oct 7, 2019 - 16:34 4875 views
Stockholm-based architecture firm Ulf Mejergren Architects (UMA) has released its latest project, called Trunk Tower, an observation tower that is carved out from one dead tree.
Ulf Mejergren Architects was commissioned to create a small observation tower for a local scout organization outside of Stockholm. The client had acquired a parcel of land which consists mainly out of one big clear-cut.
The area is well-known for its rich and diversified fauna, with golden eagles as its main draws. Owls, moose, deer and boar are also frequent in the area, as well as a great place for fishing and finding mushrooms and berries.
"The client had something modest in mind for the tower and the construction budget he suggested was very optimistic. On top of that he also wanted a primitive off-grid toilet to be included in the budget," said UMA.
Being a friend to the client's company, UMA decided to at least have a look at the site. A clear-cut is not a pretty place, a torn landscape with stumps and leftover dead trees.
Almost joking UMA pointed at one tall dead tree and said "there is your observation tower." And to an uprooted tree a bit further away. "And that is your toilet."
A split second later it occurred to us that perhaps this wasn’t such a bad idea after all. In that way we would at least not go over budget.
The client approved and UMA began to sketch directly on the stumps with duct tape, which was a great way to communicate with the client right on site. The next day UMA returned with the necessary tools, a hacksaw, bow saw, axe and also a chainsaw which the firm had no experience of.
"Being a bit nervous around the chainsaw, we began to trim the overhanging branches on the largest stump with a hacksaw. We spared a decimeter or so on the major branches since we had an idea of using them as hangers and hooks," said UMA.
"When cleaning up around the tree we saw that it had a very impressive root system. We dug them up a bit to reveal them and made large seats on the three biggest legs. We tried to do them with a bow saw first but that was so time consuming so we had no other option than to fill the old chainsaw up with oil and gasoline and pray that we came home in one piece."
"The seats went fine and it was time to do the stairs. We had a vague sensation that we had seen vertical steps being carved out like this by certain tribes in Papua New Guinea, but we were not sure and we hoped that the stairs would be comfortable enough to climb."
UMA made them rather deep so it would feel safe when one put each foot in the gaps and the climb turned out to be surprisingly easy. Now came the hard part; to create the observation deck with the chainsaw while balancing on the steps. The studio had a small discussion who should do this brave act and decided that the guy without kids should give it a try.
An hour later the office was still intact and UMA could spot our first eagle hovering in the air from the freshly cut platform. The next day we worked with finer tools and also cut out a couple of shelves in the tree.
UMA treated the exposed wood with a natural oil but we will perhaps seal it by charring the wood with a blowtorch. Now being chainsaw masters, the firm created the toilet in no-time. While being at it they decided to create two spots, as a homage to the old communal outhouses in Sweden where a whole family could sit and do their business.
"We cut away three parts of the tree and put hinges on them, so when closed the stump looks as before. To toilets are positioned at each far end and in the middle is a compartment with comic books, soap and tissues."
"While being able to close the lids, this will also protect the buckets from filling up with rain. Having an hour to spare, we also made a secret beer stash out of a stump next to the observation tower, which was a great surprise at the opening party."
"The projects turned out very successful and now there are even plans to expand the collection of small structures with a small foot bridge over a stream, an outdoor library and a temporary storage, all carved out from stumps and dead trees of course," the studio added.
All images courtesy of UMA
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