Camp Adventure Park / EFFEKT
Camp Adventure Park is a new treetop route and a hyperbolic observation tower by Danish architecture office EFFEKT. Located in the historic Gissenfeld Klosters Forest on South East Zealand, the 900-metre elevated boardwalk gradually leads people from ground level, through the treetops and culminates in a 45-metre tall tower, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
Gissenfeld Klosters forest is a preserved forest one hour south of Copenhagen. As glacial woodland with rolling hills, ephemeral streams, lakes, wetlands and meadows, the forest contains several natural biotopes, a variation of animal species and a rich bird life. A challenge of the project was to create an exciting and easily accessible walk through the forest without disrupting its natural environment. To minimize the project’s impact on its surroundings, the boardwalk is lifted above the natural ground as it zigzags in and out between the existing trees and adjusts to the existing conditions and habitats of the forest. The result is a new, seamless way to move through the forest, lifted above the ground while experiencing the scenic nature.
The forest boardwalk is split into a higher and a lower walkway: While the higher walkway takes one through the oldest parts of the forest, the lower walkway and the observation tower is located in the younger areas. The high walkway features a series of experiences and lets one pass through a voliere with different birds, lets one take a rest on a stepped seating pocket and get closer to the trees to study their features up close. The route passes many different Danish tree species while leaving them untouched, and also makes the forest experience accessible to everyone without steps or obstacles.
As the final destination of the forest boardwalk, a 650-meter long inner spiralling ramp lifts one up above the treetops to experience a 360-degree view of the area. From the top platform, you experience a panoramic view, 140 metres above sea level, the highest accessible point in Zealand. On a clear day, you can see 50 km to Copenhagen and Malmø in the North, and towards the rugged Southern Zealand manor landscape to the South and East.
The seamless, continuous ramp slowly increases in height with a fixed gradient, and the geometry and spacing of the ramp fluctuate according to the changing curvature. While walking towards the summit, the transparency of the tower makes it possible to experience what happens on many levels of the tower at once, making the way towards the summit as much of an experience as the rooftop itself.
The hyperbolic shape is both a strong characterising feature for the project, but also has a practical function as it leaves more space for the top deck and base while increasing the overall stability of the tower.
As the tower is placed in a forest clearing, it becomes a clearly defined geometric element in the forest, while it still manages to adjust to its context by curving away from the surrounding trees, so its slender waist leaves more space for the tree crowns. In the centre of the tower, three existing trees also reach up towards the sky, with their crowns spreading out simultaneously as the inner tower diameter increases. Thus, the tower shape stands strongly out from the forest but still relates strongly to its grown elements.
To minimise the projects’ impact on the landscape, it is mainly constructed in two materials: weathering steel and locally sourced oak. The materials are sustainable, as the corten steel is maintenance free, while the untreated oak is made from the forest’s own production and can be composted in nature. Visually, the rugged, rusty brown materials blend into the surrounding nature, both when walking along the forest path, on the cylindrical ramp and from the top deck.
The long steel beams strongly draw the curved contours of the tower from the outside, while the experience when walking along the ramp on the inside is more delicate, with slender wooden boards of the walking path and the continuous rhythm of the metal handrail leading one towards the top.
With its hyperbolic shape, the tower stands out as a sculptural element and a landmark in Gissenfeld Klosters Forest that will influence the tourism and attraction of the area. But besides the strong geometry, the project still manages to adapt to and blend into its surroundings with its natural, low-maintenance materials and carefully placed zig-zagging route that lets one experience the forest in a new, sensitive way.
The treetop boardwalk and observation tower will both be part of Camp Adventure, an existing adventure sports facility that includes treetop climbing and aerial zip lines. The project was awarded ICONIC Award 2017 in the category Visionary Architecture.