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Stunning views

The incredible view from the tower in Siljansnäs nature reserve has been attracting visitors since the 1930s. Six years ago, the old observation tower was forced to close, but in August this year the new wooden replacement finally opened.


The observation tower at Naturum Dalarna is built entirely out of wood for aesthetic and environmental reasons.

Siljansnäs nature reserve and the visitor centre Naturum Dalarna
at the top of Björkberget attract tens of thousands of people every year. But since 2015, annual visitor numbers have dipped by around 5,000 due to the closure of the old red and white observation tower, which finally gave in to the ravages of time.

“Almost everyone who grew up in the area has been here on a school trip, and even more people have their own memories of the tower. Locals were very fond of it and it attracted lots of visitors. So we were faced with a choice. Should we demolish it, renovate it or build a new one?” says Per Johansson from the County Administrative Board.

The decision was made to build a new tower. A not entirely straightforward process was initiated to create a building that meets today’s accessibility requirements, has a low environmental impact and blends into the landscape. The new observation tower, a 32-metre-high structure made of glulam and cross-laminated timber from Setra, was completed in August this year.

”The tower had to blend in with the mountain and the pine forest.“

The tower is covered in black cladding, created using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban method of burning the wood – an environmentally friendly way to make the material last longer.

“The first choice we made was that the tower would be built in wood. Together with the contractor, we looked at the life cycle analysis and found that opting for wood has a much better climate profile. The burnt Shou Sugi Ban cladding is an aesthetic choice. We wanted the tower to blend in with the mountain and the pine forest,” says Per Johansson.

Magnus Emilsson is CEO of Limträteknik in Falun, a company that has specialised in timber structures since the 1980s and is Setra’s partner for the project planning and technical development of CLT.

About the project

Location: Siljansnäs nature reserve in Dalarna


Gross Area:
1,780 m2


Building Contractor:

Construction Materials:
Glulam and CLT from Setra. Cladding in charred larch wood.

32 metres:
That’s how tall the new tower is, making it about ten metres taller than its predecessor. From the tower, which has a lift and a gallery at the top, you can see almost the entire Siljan Ring, the crater formed 380 million years ago when a meteorite hit the site.

“The load-bearing and stabilising elements consist of cross-laminated timber outer walls, held together by glulam posts. An inner shaft and the evacuation staircase also provide extra stability,” he says.

Limträteknik modelled the various components in 3D and sent them to Setra, which supplied the glulam and CLT frames. “Cross-laminated timber enables much larger elements to be made, which simplifies construction and opens up new design possibilities

Until just a few years ago, you had to buy CLT from other countries in Europe, but now there are suppliers like Setra in Sweden. Technological advances have made it easier for more people to build in wood,” continues Magnus Emilsson.

The new observation tower in Siljansnäs is the first FSC-certified building in Sweden. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an international organisation that promotes environmentally responsible and sustainable forest management. The organisation is primarily associated with certified wood products, but now buildings constructed with a proportion of certified wood can also receive the ecolabel.

“I’m very pleased that we’ve got a new observation tower that is fit for purpose and used local suppliers, making it such a local project. I hope we can help to generate interest in the area and attract visitors,” says Per Johansson.

Text: Hedvig Andersson
Photo: Klas Sjöberg

Published: 2022-01-20





Wood meets wood. The wooden tower sits comfortably in the deep forests of Dalarna. Magnus Emilsson works at Limträteknik, which was responsible for the tower’s supporting structure.


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