Aarti, Ollila & Risto
Viewpoint is a project commissioned by The Finnish Institute in London and The Architecture Foundation for London Wildlife Trust built on Regents Canal near Kings Cross Station. It is a floating architectural island that acts as a retreat from its urban setting in Camley Street Natural Park, a pocket of nature wedged between the canal and the surrounding urban development.
The platform offers a new perspective being positioned on the water, which also creates a learning facility situated in unique spot for observation or sampling. I imagine that it would also be a space that creates a spectacle, particularly for younger children, to be engaged with nature amidst the milieu of today’s attention-grabbing technologies.
The pavilion was presented as part of the London Design Festival 2013 last September. Finnish architect Arto Ollila describes his project as an investigation into material use in a contested space.
“Viewpoint experiments with old and traditional materials and shows they can be used in new and innovative ways. Design and material solutions root Viewpoint to its challenging location, the borderline of the built and unbuilt London. We are proud to be part of a project that brings new uncommercial spaces to Londoners.”
I would argue that the floating platform does work well without doing anything too special. Its wooden forms really have a Finnish feel about them, almost like a deconstructivist sauna. Thankfully it is understated an respectful to it’s placing, a lot more so that the towering structures extruding from the ground nearby, but there again this in central London.
It remains to be said that the opportunistic spirit of this project, and indeed of the London Wildlife Trust, help maintain London’s diversity of spaces and places. Knitted in patches of wildlife in left-over space are really something to protect, showcasing little pieces of architecture like this draws attention to their value.