LOCALARCHITECTURE: The Bird Island House - best architects 22


The Bird Island House

best architects 22

public buildings


Préverenges, Switzerland


Matthieu Gafsou


In 2016, the Lausanne ornithology club (Cercle Ornithologique de Lausanne or COL) acquired a small cabin facing the Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island) at Préverenges, an artificial biotope reclaimed from the lake and now classified as an official nature reserve. Ideally located opposite the island, the new Maison de l’Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island House) aims to raise awareness among the public and the region’s schoolchildren of issues around nature protection, the climate and the negative impact of human activities on stopover sites for migratory waders. The building structure is composed of solid vertical boards, assembled without glue that have been bent to form a lacework structure of vertical elements echoing the delicacy of a nest. The large round window is an eye-catching feature that draws attention and is reminiscent of a camera obscura or a nesting box. Structurally, the building therefore presents a striking contrast between the different kinds of techniques deployed – both contemporary and traditional.