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.