Not all elevated viewpoints are created with equal access, a sad reality that limits those with disabilities. Finnish design studio OOPEAA, however, was determined to give everyone access to beautiful lakeside views in their recently completed Periscope Tower, a wooden observation tower that doubles as a giant periscope. Set on a lakeshore in the Finnish city of Seinäjoki, the prefabricated Periscope Tower offers views across the water for those able to climb up to the balcony deck as well as those at the tower base who can also enjoy the views from an angled mirror.
Commissioned by the City of Seinäjoki, the Periscope Tower was created in collaboration with SWECO Seinäjoki and constructed by students of the local vocational school SEDU. The observation tower is built entirely of wood and comprises three prefabricated modules stacked together vertically and topped with a roof. The large-scale periscope forms the inner core and is constructed with cross-laminated timber. Stairs made from larch circle around the periscope to reach the raised viewing platform. The external wooden frame, also made of larch, serves as the load-bearing structure.
“The idea was to create a simple wooden structure of high quality in a way that supports learning and reflects a commitment to empowering and strengthening the local community,” write the architects, “One can either climb up the stairs to enjoy the view over the lake and into the surrounding landscape from the viewing deck, or simply stay on the ground and get the view through the periscope mirror.” The Periscope Tower was created as part of a larger landscape design project to revitalize the area around Lake Kyrösjärvi, a man-made lake that helps with flood control and generates energy for an electric power plant. The observation tower opened today to the public.
Images via OOPEAA