RINTALA EGGERTSSON ARCHITECTS

FOREST OBSERVATORY

Kyushu, Japan
Kirishima Open Air Museum
Forest Observatory
Completed 16.4.2004

When I first entered the thick forest on the site, I started instinctively to walk silently and listen carefully. One could not see clearly longer than twenty meters, but things further than that could be heard. This small forest is full of sounds that become mysterious since the source is hidden; strange birds, creeping animals in the bush, wind in the treetops. The often prevailing fog even strengthens this experience. If you stand still for a while, it becomes a universe you would like to understand more. Perhaps, if one listens patiently enough, it reveals itself. Silent and alert, you become partly animal again.

This architectural instrument, Forest Observatory, is designed to aid persons in pursuit of understanging the surrounding nature. It collects and harbours sounds and offers focused shelters for perception. The inner courtyard is an articulated, closed acoustic room, allowing silent conversation to take place. The consept is based on a simple observation that at times whispering is more effective than shouting.