Holiday in Sweden with the Birds
Imagine a holiday on a tree, hanging alongside bird houses? You do not have to imagine, as this is also a reality, thanks to BIG (Bjarke Ingel Group). Designed in collaboration with Treehotel and Swedish ornithologist Ulf Öhman, the new hotel room brings 350 bird houses to the renowned Treehotel in Swedish Lapland.
Suspended in the Harads pines, BIG’s design seeks to enhance the surrounding biosphere and natural habitat. The hotel room titled Biosphere is the latest addition to Treehotel, which has a lineup of individually designed rooms from some of Scandinavia’s most renowned architects including Snöhetta, Rintala Eggerstsson, and Tham & Videgård, among others.
BIG was invited to design the eighth room by founders Kent and Britta Jonsson-Lindvall in 2020. Situated in the small village Harads about 70 minutes from the airport of Luleå, in Swedish Lapland, the 34 sq metre Biosphere Room is designed to attract wildlife and for guests to be fully immersed in the surrounding forest. The room opened for visitors in mid-June of 2022.
“We are very happy to collaborate with yet another group of leading Scandinavian architects. This completes our goal of having architects from all Scandinavian countries,” explains Kent Lindvall, founder and co-owner of Treehotel. “We have always depended heavily upon our leading Scandinavian architects, who have helped us build a holistic view – from the little to large details- in the design process. We have been waiting for the right time and the right architecture company for our next step. The fact that our eighth room is created in collaboration with Danish BIG, at this very point in time, and with a future-focused concept where the natural environment becomes an interactive part of the experience, feels perfect.”
Northern Sweden is known for its natural beauty, expansive forests, and distinctive biosphere. Strong climatic contrasts through the seasons have required highly resilient buildings, incorporating the local materials of wood and stone. The Treehotel is known for its broad variety of cabins, with each cabin having a distinct identity that responds and interacts differently with the surrounding forest. Biosphere amplifies Treehotel’s focus on sustainability and natural tourism, helping facilitate the conservation of the local bird population: the treetop hotel room with a façade containing 350 bird nests, Treehotel aims to decrease the downward spiral of the bird population in the Swedish woods and instead strengthen the biosphere and natural habitat.
“Inventories in Norrbotten County, carried out both by us as ornithologists and by the County Administrative Board, show that a number of different bird populations are decreasing. Forestry has led to a reduced number of natural holes in trees where breeding birds’ nest. The installation of bird nests is therefore an important measure to take. Furthermore, climate change leads to the insect boom happening earlier in the year, and by the time the birds’ eggs hatch, the boom has already passed. Feeding is an important support mechanism for the birds that stay in Northern Sweden and require food during winter. Demonstrating the use of bird nests and feeding, not just at the Treehotel but for people to install near their own homes, is valuable. An initiative from Treehotel to take such measures may inspire their visitors to do the same,” explains Ulf Öhman, chairman of the Norrbotten Ornithological Association.
Biosphere is accessed via a suspended bridge that slopes from the ground to the top of the trees. The interior of the 34m2 hotel room incorporates rich dark interiors and organic materials inspired by the surrounding landscape, which further serve to reinforce the visitors’ view outwards and to focus on the natural beauty of the surroundings.
“I got to spend a few days and nights in some of the Treehotel rooms right before the pandemic, and left with a sense of rejuvenation from complete immersion into nature. I couldn’t help wondering if there was a way to take the immersion one step further – and almost instantly the idea of inviting not only the human visitors but also the resident bird and bat population to cohabit a spherical swarm of nests came to life. After our first conversations with Ulf Öhman from Norrbotten Ornithological Association we were relieved to learn that birds don’t drop where they nest – so there is hope for the glass to remain clear within this cloud of aviary architecture,” says Bjarke Ingels, BIG Founder & Creative Director.
All Imaged Courtesy BIG.