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Timber floating pavilion offers shelter during flooding

Students of the Estonian Academy of Arts collaborated with architecture firm b210 to build it

Interior architecture students from the Estonian Academy of Arts came up with a brilliant way to ride out the floods that come to the Soomaa National Park wetlands, in Estonia, two weeks every spring. (It’s a time known as "the fifth season.") Per Dezeen, the students wanted a timber pavilion that would provide shelter, a sauna and campfire so the public could continue enjoying the park despite the seasonal flooding. As Dezeen puts it, "The simple wooden structure aims to provide an alternative to existing forest infrastructure during this rainy season."

The students worked with the Tallinn-based architecture firm b210 to design and build the floating structure, which was named Veetee— or "waterway." It’s comprised of a series of V-shaped timber profiles built upon a platform, which floats on metal barrels.

It was designed and constructed during a 10-day wilderness summer workshop. Before building, the group spent several days in Soomaa National Park to understand the context of their surroundings, as well as any anticipated environmental challenges. Instead of taking notes with laptops, many students opted to write ideas on scraps of wood paper instead. When they were ready to build, it took five people over just six days. One thing that didn’t quite work out: although the students wanted to include a sauna, it ended up sinking during Veetee’s launch.

Architect Aet Ader, of b210, describes the final product as such: "Veetee allows people to stay in the Soomaa environment without touching land. It is extremely contextual. It offers something to the Soomaa environment that they have not had until now: a public space, a meeting spot on the water."

The pavilion is now open to the public, which means you too could float along the Soomaa National Park wetlands in this simple timber structure.

Photos by Mari Hunt via Dezeen