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At the edge of civilisation

In the silence of the forest, immersed in a floating blanket of fog under the starry sky, stands a slender lookout that seems to have sprung naturally from the ground. The Lookout Spike is part of a series of five lookouts completed by Mjölk architekti over the last ten years. This concludes a decade of exploration in building in the great outdoors. The diversity of the individual concepts comes from the different approaches to each site, making the series a showcase of architectural forms, always based on careful analysis of the site and the logic behind each project.

The belvedere is located on the upper rock of Malý Špičák and looks down into the valley of the confluence of the Desná and Kamenice rivers in the Czech Republic. This was the starting point of the Tanvald bobsleigh track, an important point of sporting activity in its time. The remains of the bobsleigh track on the Malý Špičák slope indicate its former route. In a way, Špička also serves as a tribute to the regional heroes in tight suits, who fearlessly drove their shiny bobsleighs through steep curves in the desire to cut every second off their time. 

The aim of the project was to create a small but distinctive piece of architecture. A building as delicate and elusive as a dewdrop that barely touches the rock. The belvedere has three slender steel legs and a shiny belly that reflects granite, trees, people and sky. The viewing platform, accessible by a staircase, offers a view of Tanvald and the surrounding mountains. The image reflected on the curved surface below is distorted, the colours and reflections twisting and blending. The experience of looking at the building is never the same. A work that in its feeble structure amplifies the context around it and gives the visitor an infinite number of different perspectives. 

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Project: Lookout Spike
Architect: Mjölk architekti
Year: 2020
Photo: BoysPlayNice