Wooden viewing platform looks out
over Latvia's River Daugava

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This wooden observation platform and pavilion emerges from the landscape of a memorial park in Koknese, Latvia, offering views across the River Daugava (+ slideshow).

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

Designed by Latvian studios Didzis Jaunzems Architecture and Jaunromans un Abele, the wooden structure is located in the Garden of Destiny, a park designed to celebrate the country's 100th birthday in 2018 and pay tribute to all those that have died in the last century.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

The architects used the natural incline of the site to build a pavilion that is partially buried beneath the ground. A sloping roof provides an elevated deck that visitors can walk over, while the surrounding terrace concludes at a balcony that cantilevers out across the water.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

"The view terrace and pavilion create a harmonious environment to discover the special character of the site – the spaciousness and the faraway horizon over River Daugava," explained Didzis Jaunzems.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

Existing features around the site informed the shape of the building. As well as working in line with the site's topography, the architects designed a structure that avoids all surrounding trees whilst seeking out the best viewing spots.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

The structure was built almost entirely from larch. Wooden planks were fixed around a larch frame, creating a uniform surface across the ground planes and around the building's walls.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

Each plank was also milled to create fine ridges, intended to prevent visitors from slipping when the ground is wet, and glazing was added at the front of the pavilion to offer shelter from strong winds and rainfall.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

Wooden benches fold up from the ground to provide seating and metal railings create see-through balustrades.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

Since opening, the site has become a popular location for all kinds of activities. "The view terrace unintentionally has become a very popular place for wedding ceremonies," said Jaunzems.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava

Photography is by ML-Studio.

Read on for more information from the design team:


View Terrace and Pavilion

View Terrace and Pavilion are situated in memorial park "The Garden of Destiny", the area of Consolation which is the first zone of Future according to overall project of the island. The Garden of Destiny is memorial place for all souls that have been lost to Latvia in last century and it will be completed as a gift to country on its 100th birthday in year 2018. The View Terrace project started as an architectural competition and with a help of donations is now first realised permanent building in memorial park. View terrace received the Prize of the Year in Latvian Architecture Best Works Award.

View-Terrace-and-Pavilion-by-Didzis-Jaunzems-Architecture-and-Jaunromans-un-Abele_dezeen_11
Design concept diagrams - click for larger image

The view terrace and pavilion create a harmonious environment to discover the special character of the site – the spaciousness and the faraway horizon over River Daugava. The tight bond between Latvian people and nature has been emphasised in the project. Nature is a source of inner energy, strength, peace and inspiration. Nature has been a priority in this project since it is the consolation for Latvians. The building has been designed considering site particularities and in harmony with nature:

» The main flows of people have been analysed. The building is made in a way to not cover the view to river panorama when approaching the site;
» Stop points such as benches and covered space are situated in the places where view is the most stunning and emotional;
» The building has been shaped in a way to preserve most valuable trees on the site;
» Terrain level differences are used in the project design. The pavilion is partly sunken into the ground so it doesn't cover the view when approaching the building and to provide comfortable access from the lowest level of terrace.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava
Site plan - click for larger image

View terrace and pavilion has diversified levels of "openness". This gives an opportunity to use the building in all kind of weather conditions as well as lets visitors to choose the level which emotionally suits them the best. For example if it is raining or in case of strong wind people can enjoy the view from the part of pavilion that is covered with roof and protected with large glass. But if the weather is not an issue then exposed long benches can be used. The building can be seen as a platform for harmonious interaction between people and nature.

The main architectonic idea of the project is building volume that following people movement from a pathway and seats gradually grows into a building in this way exploring building location on the very coast of the river. Roof inclinations creates an exciting place where to play and relax. The main challenge of the project was its highly public significance – it is built for everybody and furthermore by donations of people. The building is very compact however its configuration and various possibilities of usage allow to coexist all parts of society. From this year on couples in Latvia can officially get married outside the church and the view terrace unintentionally has become a very popular place for wedding ceremonies.

Wooden viewing platform looks out over Latvia's River Daugava
Section - click for larger image

Pavilion and view terrace are made in wood – larch. The load-bearing structure is larch frames. Finishing is larch planks that are processed in a special technique to avoid slippery surfaces on pathways and roof of the building.

Project address: Memorial park "The Garden of Destiny", Krievkalna Island, Koknese, Latvia
Projects architects: Didzis Jaunzems, Laura Laudere in collaboration with architecture office Jaunromans and Abele