The nature of the forest is an elusive one. Rich, but secretive. In this project, we wanted to tempt those who are always in close vicinity of the forest, but who might need an extra nudge to step over the threshold and into it. There are certain qualities in a place or a type of nature, inherently. This is an investigation of how architecture can, by means of subtle interventions, work to enhance these qualities. How it somehow can become your extended body, help to unravel the secret, and bring you into previously unexpected experiences. We want to make the nature stronger, and you, more curiously human. This was an international competition with the brief to create a structure by which people could interact with and learn about nature. We carried it out as a series of sections, presenting our ideas in experiential writing. In team with Marika Lundberg, our proposal was awarded second price.

1. The site is close to the city, but usually far off in the minds of city dwellers. it´s located about 6 km outside of the city borders in a large nature reserve with lakes, running tracks and extensive dense forest lands. So far mostly committed enthusiasts have found their way here – now we are inviting you to come.

2. A pearl of sweat drops from your forehead as you reach the tower floor. Standing up, you gasp. The forest is beneath you. Far away in the distance, the city. It looks incredibly small. And the trees, so tall. You turn your back to it. There´s someone in the tower across the water. You peer and lean forward on the railing, but you can´t make out who. You smile. And raise your hand in a gentle wave, without even noticing.

3. Tap. Tap. Tap. Damp feet on cold steel. You stop, a morning breeze passes and you shiver. It´s only 5.30 but it´s june, and the sun is already up, just rising above the high rocks. One step further out, then you´re in. For a second you think your body will shatter from the cold and you bite your tongue not to scream. You take one stroke, then a second, and your heartbeat settles slowly. You dive beneath the surface, and all sound is drowned out by the water. Turning on your back, you close your eyes.

4. You look at the map again, closer this time. It should be here, somewhere… Sticks break under your feet, the late september sun sprinkles a yellow fading light through the soon naked trees. You turn a boulder. A shot of excitement through your chest as you see it, and you want to run over there but pace yourself. It´s only a small door. You lean your head through it. No sound from below, only a pale light at the bottom. The stair is narrow and steep, but when you reach the floor the room changes into a large open hall. At the end is a tall window. The lake surface is just beyond the glass. You can see it all from where you stand. You walk over there, and look out. No one can see you.

5. “Oh, so… this is like a bridge then..?” Your friend smiles at you, nods towards the steel bars. Apparently, you go first. Thighs shaking on the way down, then you reach the bottom of the lake. Jumping off the last step, you dry your hands off on your trousers. You then walk slowly to the middle of the tunnel. It´s so weird, being down here. Light shines through the ceiling, and you look up. Water, silt, seaweed, dark. Light ripples. Your friend is behind you, touches your shoulder. “Sort of”, he says. 

6. You lie awake for a while, listening to the others breathing. Then you get up and open the door, silently. There´s dew on the ground. You tiptoe outside, passing the hearth where a piece of ash is still smoking from the night before. On the way back from the toilet you stop at the outdoor kitchen, cup your hand to grab a mouthful of water. You stand still for a second. Only the nightingale sings. When she stops, the forest is quiet. Back at the hut, the others are still snoring in their beds. Someone turns. You slip back under your own duvet. It´s still too early to get up. Within a minute you´re fast asleep again.