The Walk Above the Vineyards is a circular ramp designed by architecture studio Keeo4design, which offers an elevated view over the vineyards in the Czech Republic's South Moravian Region.
Commissioned by the local authority, the spiralling viewing platform is located near the village of Kobylí, on the summit of the Kobylí vrch hill.
Keeo4design founders Jiří Vojtěšek and Jakub Roleček, who are based in the nearby city of Brno, designed the structure as a direct response to the site.
The hilltop is the highest point in the area. It provides a view of the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape, the Little Carpathians mountain range, and as far as the Austrian Alps on a clear day.
The gently spiralling ramp transports visitors to a height of 7.6 metres above the ground and its delicate design intentionally reduces its visual impact on the countryside.
"The observation deck is shaped as a 334-degree circle ramp segment, unobtrusively overlooking the beautiful surrounding landscape," explained Vojtěšek.
"The circle represents the natural circle of life and is a symbolic reference to the growth of Kobylí."
The ramp's gentle incline makes the lookout point accessible to those with limited mobility, who might not be able to climb the steps of a more conventional observation tower.
On the route towards the highest point, visitors are presented with information plates pointing out key landmarks and providing details relating to past and future events that provoke deeper thought about the region.
A combination of eight identical floor segments and three special sections at the beginning and the end make up the ramp.
The walkway is supported by 19 slender steel double columns that emerge from reinforced-concrete footings and angle outwards to connect with the structural framework.
The floor comprises more than 500 wooden sections, while over a thousand wooden planks were required to construct the handrail lining the path.
The end section of the walkway cantilevers out beyond the final pair of columns, with a transparent balustrade enhancing the feeling of floating above the landscape.
Curving structures have been proven to make unobtrusive observation point designs for natural surrounds.
Norwegian architect Lars J Berge built a circular wooden tower on an island north of Bergen for birdwatchers to observe migrating birds, while MVRDV has designed a wave-shaped viewing platform for the coast of Holland that could rock in time with the tides.
Photography is courtesy of Keeo4design.
Architects: Keeo4design, Jiří Vojtěšek and Jakub Roleček
Investor: Kobylí Municipality
Building contractor: Teplotechna Ostrava