One of northern Europe’s largest protected areas for wildlife has recently gained a new entrance building with an unexpectedly playful facade. Designed by Stockholm-based architectural office sandellsandberg, the modern structure, dubbed Outdoor Eriksberg, is the first of many new buildings planned for Eriksberg Hotel & Nature Reserve in southeastern Sweden’s Blekinge County. As a blend of contemporary and traditional influences, the entrance building references the traditional architecture of Blekinge with its barn-inspired shape and “Falu copper red” paint, while its curtain-like facade creates a decidedly modern vibe.
Nicknamed the “Scandinavian safari,” the Eriksberg Nature Reserve is home to a wide variety of animals—including red deer, fallow deer, European bison, wild boar and mouflon— that roam the grounds spanning nine square kilometers. In recent years, the nature reserve has undergone further development to accommodate its growing number of visitors that average around 50,000 people every year. Currently, the estate includes a restaurant, hotel and event spaces.
Although sandellsandberg was tapped to bring modern buildings to the nature reserve, the Swedish architecture firm didn’t shy away from taking inspiration from local traditional forms. The entrance building is reminiscent of the region’s traditional longhouses with its barn-shaped form, large windows and thatched roof. However, the two-story barn-shaped building’s contemporary feel comes through in its asymmetrical roof line that’s topped with a long and large skylight that allows the interior to become illuminated with natural light, while the curtain-like facade gives the building a cartoonish appearance.
“Previously there was no distinct entrance to the nature reserve, which at times made visitors turn at the gates in confusion,” say the architects in their project statement. “Hence, the biggest challenges were to strengthen the site’s identity and give presumptive visitors a welcoming first impression of the reserve. These needs gave birth to the idea of a textile look where an unexpected curtain-shaped façade surprises and welcomes the visitor and like a curtain open up to the nature reserve.”
Spanning an area of 600 square meters, the entrance building is a multipurpose space that not only welcomes guests to the Eriksberg Nature Reserve, but also hosts events space, office areas, storage, as well as retail and restaurant space. The ground floor houses a series of back offices, a cafe and a shop that sells homegrown produce. Above is a spacious exhibition area with additional retail space and storage.
Images by Åke E:son Lindman