It might sound counterintuitive, but buildings can (sometimes) enhance wild landscapes. Viewing platforms frame views, direct our attention to a specific vista, and, in some cases, make us more aware of natural phenomenon.
Take Stonehenge: archaeologists and historians don’t know exactly why or how this architectural enigma was built, but some speculate that it’s an ancient astronomical calendar since the site is oriented to the sun on the summer and winter solstices.
In Firestone, Colorado, the architecture firm Tomecek Studio recently completed the Sunset Pavilion, a structure built for a suburban housing subdivision called Barefoot Lakes. Since the development is targeted toward home buyers who enjoy the outdoors, its planners specified structures that help residents enjoy nature, like the pavilion. Facing lakes, fields, and a mountain range, it offers a shaded seating area where people using the regional trail network can stop and take in the panorama. The pavilion, which won a 2017 AIA Small Projects Award, includes a poured-in-place concrete bench, gabion walls, and a prefabricated steel shelter.
On most days of the year, it’s a perfectly handsome structure–but it really comes alive on the longest and shortest days of the year. Tomecek Studio integrated two perforated sections into the shell that perfectly align with the sun’s path on those days, just like Stonehenge.
See it in the slide show above.