Wacky recycled rubber-covered stilted cabin 're-wilds' a meadow in Latvia

Building Works Unit
© Building Works Unit

The gradual loss of our wild spaces have prompted some to engage in wild city mapping -- publicly cataloguing them to raise awareness.

There's also creating built opportunities to help people appreciate the wilderness we do have, as these Latvian students from Riga Technical University did in this distinctive cabin that acts as a lookout and elevated meditation space.

Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit

Dubbed "The Wild Thing," the structure was built by a team of 13 students as part of a design-build summer school project. Working with the town's mayor, Dezeen says that the intention was to "re-wild" a defined area by letting this meadow's grass grow in, creating a wild space that would "make better use of an open space that links the Pirtsupites Grava Valley in Cēsis to a historic castle."

Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit
Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit

Summer program director Theo Molloy explains the project's brief:

We suggested to simply stop to cutting the grass within a defined zone. 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.

Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit

The concept was to create a 14-foot tall, architectural 'creature' of sorts, positioned on slanted stilts that gives the impression of it having walked out of the forest and settled here. The creature's 'hide' is made of rubber flaps that were salvaged from nearby train tracks, where they were previously used as rail buffers. In a quirky design move, the four sides can be lifted up to open up the space, allowing uninterrupted views.

Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit
Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit
Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit
Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit
Building Works Unit© Building Works Unit

Guerilla gardeners and indigenous peoples bring up a good point about how conventional perception sees vacant but biodiverse lots as "abandoned." Yet, stick a structure in there, add in human occupation or intervention, and you've got a legitimate wild space again. Perhaps this says more about our limitations as moderns that we can't seem to leave any natural space untouched. In any case, this peculiar architectural critter seems like a compromise, standing like a guardian of the forests and meadows, letting passerby climb up into its body to fully appreciate, rather than modify, nature on its own terms. More over at Dezeen and Riga Technical University summer school.

Tags: Architecture | Universities

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