17 November 2017

Biotope philosophy & origin story - the AD interview

Biotope just won the Architectural Digest Design Award 2017 in the category architecture. 2017 have been a year where our work is getting quite a bit of recognition and momentum. We are both humbled and thankfull for everyone who have and continue to support our work. We have been fortunate to work with great clients from both the nature conservation scene, ecotourism businesses and onwards to local communities. We have since we started Biotope stayed true to our niche of architecture dedicated to nature experiences. 

As a part of the AD award Tormod was interviewed by the Architectural Digest. Below follows the interview, hopefully with some thoughts and insights you will find valuable. Thanks to AD for the award and a big thanks to everyone following our work as pro nature architects! 

The Kongsfjord cliff wind shelter / bivouac by polar night

30 June 2017

Biotope online resources


Nature-based architecture projects and destination development.

As our projects diversify, both by countries and by themes, we wanted to give you an overview of some key onlince resources and places you can connect with us. This website is to a large extent a blog form history of our projects since 2011. More then 100 blogposts have been written, and should it be printed it would make a couple of books. While we keep posting longer form articles on this website, much of our content production have moved to social media, like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram during the past couple of years. We have also started producing weekly video blogs posted on both Facebook and Youtube. 

06 May 2017

SNOW LEOPARDS - the Tibetan Plateau expedition

     
            


China, the Tibetan plateau, April 2017 

Snow Leopards are among the most rare and least seen mammals in the world. For nature enthusiasts it is probably the most desired mammal to see. Needless to say I was incredibly excited when I was invited by Terry Townshend of Birding Beijing to be a part of a Snow Leopard pilot tour to a newly discovered area for this amazing species. The vast Chinese Tibetan Plateau probably holds many undiscovered secrets, and among them is an area that seems to be heavily favoured by the Snow Leopards. This following brief blogpost is based on a 14 day visit in China, where 5 days was spent at an undisclosed location between 4000 and 5000 meters above sea level.

20 December 2016

On birdwatching and architecture


An essay on flare versus function

The world of birding is a bit of a paradox. Birdwatching or birding is a wildly popular hobby that attracts millions of people worldwide, while at the same time birdwatching is considered to be very niche and it is, despite its massive popularity, not well known by the general public. Birdwatching has long roots, and in some basic ways it can be considered a modern version of of the hunter-gatherer mentality we see reflected in other hobbies like hunting or fishing, which is no longer done for survival purposes but rather for recreational purposes. Birdwatching however have evolved beyond the hunter-gatherer mind set. Birdwatching is in fact an expression of the modern naturalist science based culture. The desire to understand nature in all of its complexity is a key to understanding birdwatching. Birdwatching is a natural progression from Charles Darwins evolution theory to modern day popular naturalist icons like David Attenborough. Birdwatching is in many ways science for the masses. It is, alongside astronomy, the largest knowledge and science based hobby in the world where the boundaries to its field is pushed forward by a large base of very keen enthusiasts rather than a small base of specialist professionals. Today birdwatching is a global culture with millions of birdwatchers contributing to an ever growing knowledge base of everything related to birds. The plattforms on which birdwatchers communicate are numerous. There are endless magazines, online forums, websites, organisations, companies, etc, catering to every need and want in the birdwatching community. What they all share is a deep passion for birds and nature, wether it is for hard core science purposes like research into bird species taxanomy or the pure artistic exploration of bird art and bird photography. 

06 August 2016

BIRDING NORTH ICELAND - Nature destination development


Biotope recently made another visit to northern Iceland. For the past two years we have made repeated trips to this amazing birding destination, as a part of a nature destination development project we are working on. In collaboration with local nature based businesses we are exploring the region with the aim of designing and building a series of bird hides, photo hides and wind shelters. 

19 June 2016

BIRDING RUSSIA - exploring the northwest russian tundra


Aerial view of the Kostuanoy Cape, our basecamp on the russian tundra


The Nenets State Nature Reserve is a vast tundra and wetland expanse bordering the russian Pechora sea. Biotope was recently invited by the good folks of the nature reserve to visit the reserve and to look into possibilities for creating bird hides and nature viewing architecture. It was an honor to be invited to this reserve and it has been a long time wish for us to visit and bird in Russia. We enjoy every opportunity to visit top nature destinations of the circumpolar regions. Invitations based on our birder architect skills are somthing we consider a big compliment every time. We will do our outmost to see and understand the needs of a destination and the people there and their ambitions to develop a destination. Advising on where and how to put up bird hides, wind shelters and other nature viewing facilities are the jobs we truly enjoy. In addition there are different interests to consider ranging from nature conservation issues to more nature based tourism business opportunities. Finding a balance is important. Making these interest work together is even better.

Версию нашего  отчета на русском языке смотрите ниже

05 June 2016

The Birding Varanger guide book - Arctic Norway sites & birds


"Varanger is the world´s most easily accessible Arctic birding destination. In Varanger, Arctic Norway,  you can experience the northern taiga, tundra and the Arctic coastline within a dya´s drive. Birders, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts can enjoy an amazingly rich birdlife in a sutnning landscsape. Varanger is particularily famous for its wintering population of Steller´s Eiders. However the wide variety of unique bird species have made Varanger one of the top birding destinations of the world."



26 May 2016

Birding Northwest Iceland - May 2016




 Harlequin Duck, Blönduós May 2016


Nature destination development: Northwest Iceland

Iceland delivers some of the coolest birding in Europe. We just visited the northwestern region of Iceland, working on a destination development scheme. For 10 days we have visited, researched, measured and photographed a wide range of sites. Visiting Iceland is not "just" a birding thing: The landscape, the mammals and the people you meet are equally an important part of any visit to this cool destination. Not to mention the heitur pottur culture! Almost everywhere you go you can sink into  a relaxing hot bath, in the field, at your hotel or at any of the numerous public baths. 

27 March 2016

Øvre Pasvik - birding the arctic taiga - Gullfest pt.2

Hawk Owl about to strike

In the Pasvik taiga forest the arctic bird festival Gullfest turned into an Owlfest! The Pasvik section of Gullfest was an epilogue of Gullfest where we aimed to show our invited guests some of the finest birding in the arctic. The taiga forest of Pasvik is the northernmost coniferous forest in the world. The taiga forest stretches from Pasvik and all the way to the Pacific coast in the far east. The birding here is spectacular, when you where to look, that is. To maximise the niceness and chances of great experiences we teamed up with our Pasvik friends Ben Arne Sotkajærvi aka Mr.Pasvik and the good folks at Øvre Pasvik Camping.

25 March 2016

Vardø, Arctic Norway - Gullfest part 1

King Eiders in Vardø harbour during Gullfest, March 2016

Gullfest 2016 was another successfull arctic birding festival. This year we celebrated the epic Vardø harbour. In town birding in Vardø is probanly some of the coolest in the world! Where else can you enjoy great fish food, a hot sauna followed by a swim with King Eiders?!

We are currently into our video blogging, and we hope you enjoy our vlog version of Gullfest. A few photos follow below as well. There will also be another blogpost coming up soon from the Pasvik section of Gullfest 2016. Stay tuned :)


GULLFEST 2016 - the movie