Tåkern Visitor Center

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Carved from a block of thatch, the building encloses a single large space that opens up to the birds and the sky.

Its folded forms are familiar from the natural world. That’s all there is to the Tåkern Visitor Center—a hiding place on the edge of the forest. The dimensions, the form, and the materials defer to the surrounding landscape.

Lake Tåkern’s visitor center lies just where the forest lets go, and the building is at home there among both trees and reeds alike. Like the building’s wind-sheltering courtyard, a serpentine pathway that leads up through the tree trunks to a lookout tower gives visitors a sense of being cared for. It is more than chance for people to see the lake from a better vantage point. After having glimpsed the water, the act of turning back makes everyone, regardless of their mobility, aware of the life that is thriving up there in the trees as well.

A small portion of the lake’s reeds are cut every year, and it is the 2011 harvest that clads the building. Thatch is not the only local material used in the building: there’s also Borghamn limestone and pine from the surrounding forests of Östergötland County. The building is constructed almost entirely of wood. Wood is for the interior what thatch is for the exterior—an embracing whole.

The building’s tower may remind visitors of a bird with long legs, or perhaps a birdwatcher peering out beneath a cap pulled down low. The main building’s form is simply a consequence of the interior’s straightforward need of openings.

The ridge is the most vulnerable part of a thatched roof. Here the thatch has been replaced by glass, which is not only a technically safe way to finish off the thatch, but it also bathes the room in the ever-changing skylight.

Category Public
Location Glänås besöksområde 1, Väderstad
Client Länsstyrelsen i Östergötland
Size 1 000 sq m
Completed 2012
Team Gert Wingårdh
Jonas Edblad
Peter Öhman
Ingrid Alerås
Aron Davidsson
Björn Nilsson
Danuta Nielsen
Jannika G Wirstad
Andreas Pehrson

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