The Young Architects Competition (YAC) has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to launch WWF Observation Cabins, a global competition seeking design proposals for a visitor center and observation cabins in the WWF Oasis of Orbetello, Italy. In addition to creating a space where visitors can enjoy a “tamed” version of nature, participants are expected to submit designs that help raise awareness of environmental destruction and inspire active stewardship of our planet. The competition offers a €15,000 prize pool, with an €8,000 award for the first place winner.

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Located in the Lagoon of Orbetello in Tuscany, the competition site is a wetland home to hundreds of different species, from pink flamingos and mallards to boars and foxes. To highlight the site’s biodiversity, the competition has called for three different types of low-maintenance observation cabins that can be replicated around the area: an on-the-ground observation point that can host up to 10 people; a raised watchtower that can host up to five people; and a structure at water level that can be floating or fixed.

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lake at dusk

The brief also calls for a visitor center with space for a reception, a ticket office, a training center, a bookshop, an exhibition space, guesthouses and a restaurant. The site for the visitor center and guesthouses is located farther back from the wetlands. Dimensions are not provided to give teams design flexibility.

“The project is also an opportunity to develop and understand the relationship between contemporary architecture and the landscape,” reads a statement from the competition brief. “It means recognizing the significant expressiveness of architecture when it is perfectly integrated in its context.”

Late registration for the WWF Observations Cabins competition ends June 6, 2021, and the materials submission deadline is June 9, 2021. The competition results will be announced on July 19, 2021.

+ WWF Observation Cabins

Images via YAC