The sides of this 4.5 metre-high stilted cabin lift open to offer inhabitants an uninterrupted view of the Latvian landscape (+ slideshow).
Designed and built by a group of students at the Riga Technical University summer school, the structure is part of a plan to make better use of an open space that links the Pirtsupites Grava Valley in Cēsis to a historic castle.
Working alongside the town mayor, the team of 13 proposed "re-wilding" the valley by intentionally allowing the grassy park to become overgrown.
"We suggested to simply stop to cutting the grass within a defined zone," said programme tutor Theo Molloy. "Through this simple act the valley would develop naturally into a wild flower meadow and biodiversity corridor connecting the Castle at the heart of the town with the wilderness of the natural park around."
The students and tutors then worked together to design a tall structure that would allow uninterrupted views of the valley, which they describe as being like a strange creature walking out from behind the trees.
"We researched all sorts of tower and wild life structures from hides, bird watching towers, lookouts and cabins," Molloy told Dezeen. "In the end though we wanted to bring something completely new to the valley that was not any of these things."
"It was almost an accident that the structure itself started to become creature like through the design process," he added.
Sloped walls that have been clad in rubber shingles form the four sides of the cabin. Each of the walls can be pushed open from the inside, with counterweighted timber poles keeping them in place.
"The rubber flaps were used as buffers between the rail and the sleepers along the nearby rail tracks, and would otherwise have gone to landfill," said Molloy. "Various configurations were tested with the flaps and a system of shingles was developed."
A bench large enough to seat six people is housed inside of the structure, and a window in the ceiling allows views of the sky.
Aiming to emphasis its creature-like presence, the cabin has been mounted upon wooden A and V-shaped legs.
"We chose the A and V frame legs to make it look as though it is walking," said Molloy.
The Wild Thing will stay in place for at least two years – or until the meadow grows so high that it becomes inaccessible, according to the team.
Riga Technical University hosts a design-and-build workshop every summer to encourages students to look at community issues. Previously, students from the summer school created a library tower where passers-by could drop off and exchange unwanted books.
Photography is by Building Works Unit.
Tutors: Niklāvs Paegle, Theodore Molloy, Thomas Randall–Page.
Assistants: Lucas Facer, Chloe Leen.
Students: Mariana Meneguetti, Amanda Sperger, Joséphine Devaud Koenig, Wojtek Pisarczyk, Jennifer Whittaker, Ozan Toksoz Blauel, Lu Mursalimova, Arta Buceniece, Anja Milojevic, Kairit Sõlg, Zivan Miletic, Aivars Žogla.
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