When Tengbom Architects was commissioned to replace the Fontin nature reserve activity center that had burned down in 2013, the Swedish design studio went above and beyond delivering just a fire-resistant replacement. Inspired by the shape and texture of a pinecone, the new building, named Kotten (Swedish for cone), is a beautiful woodland trail center designed to meet high eco-friendly standards. The rounded building is clad in large Nordic pine panels arranged in a beautifully textured pattern and is topped with a sedum roof to blend in with the landscape.
Tengbom Architects won the bid to design the 600-square-meter trail center in 2014, after placing first in an architecture competition launched by Sweden’s Kungälv municipality following the destruction of the old building. The oval trail center comprises a cafe, lockers, changing rooms, and shower facilities. To meet fire safety standards, the architects created the square shingles from OrganoWood pine, a type of modified hardwood that’s bonded with silicon compounds to make them naturally resistant to flame and rot. The pine facade will develop a silvery gray patina over time.
In contrast to the exterior cladding, the interior features warm birch plywood and pale gray floors. Natural light pours through floor-to-ceiling windows that also frame views of the outdoors. Tengbom Architects also worked with landscape architects to preserve existing trees wherever possible and revamp the outdoor area, which now includes a new playground, outdoor gym, and lake pier.
Images via Tengbom Architects, © Ulf Celander