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Un-built: Bird Hide Westgate Park

August 2, 2010

MAKE Architecture Studio’s proposal for a bird hide extends from an existing pathway, creating a veiled lookout wrapped in angled louvres.

Westgate Park is an inner metropolitan park in the heart of industrial Melbourne. It is a former rubbish tip that has been transformed into a flourishing ecological and recreational wetland environment. A bird hide is proposed on the freshwater lake to address the lack of purpose-built bird watching facilities.

Forming a new segment of the already established pathway system, this bird hide starts as a balustrade, grows to a screen as the bank angles away beneath you, and draws closed around you as it juts out over the water. Veiled at first, only once inside the hide is the delight of the outlook realised. Slots and peep holes reward your arrival with surreptitious glimpses amongst the birds and a dramatic outlook across the water to the bridge beyond. The gradual transition from open to hidden space is elaborated by the subtle increases in the angle of the screening louvres as you approach the projecting vantage point. Issues of personal/public security are addressed implicitly in the ‘looped pathway’ form as the hide retains open sight lines on the pedestrian side, while giving full concealment on the bird side.

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