23 January 2015

Biotope & RSPB touring UK


We are very happy to launch a new UK tour! Tormod from Biotope and Graham White from RSPB will be giving talks at Minsmere, Poole or Flamborough. We hope to see you in February!

The great guys at ´Birds of Poole Harbour´ made this introduction:

"The talk is titled ‘Viewing the Future’ and focuses on how interaction between people, wildlife and the natural world can be managed in such a way, creating a totally new experience for visitors to a nature reserve or to the public in an urban area. The presentation will be spit into two parts, the first being presented by the RSPBs senior wetland ecologist, Graham White who will talk about how to maximise nature reserve design for both people and wildlife. The second half will be hosted by Tormod Amundsen from Biotope, the worlds first (and only) Ornithological Architects. Biotope are a Norwegian based company that specialises in 'thinking outside the box' when it comes to interpreting the natural world. Biotopes concepts and bird hide ideas have become widely talked about across the country over the last few years, prompting Tormod to host his second tour here in the UK (last one was in 2013) and sharing some of their ideas and visions." 


Since we started the Biotope office in 2009 we have been fortunate to contribute to the birding world as birders and architects. We set out to become an office that would bring people and nature closer. Now we are a 3 man architectural practise fully dedicated to birding and pro nature projects! From our base in Varanger we have been exploring many new ideas. We aim to present our work as birder architects in Varanger and to look at new possibilities in UK. 

In addition to giving three public talks, we will do several RSPB reserve visits and meet RSPB staff for a couple of workshops. Graham White is RSPBs senior wetland ecologist. He was one of the keynote speakers at Varanger bird festival Gullfest in 2014, where he inspired us all with sharing the work of RSPB and the amazing efforts of designing and building new nature reserves. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is through its making of wetland reserves giving nature a home in the very widest sense! 

I am very much looking forward to coming over to the UK again to meet old friends and to make new ones. My first visit as a birder in UK was the Scilly Isles in October 2007, a place I had dreamt of visiting ever since reading Ian Lewingtons ´Rare birds´ book from 1991. Since then I have visited UK quite a few times. The Rutland Birdfair, the worlds greatest gathering of birders, is of course a huge highlight every year. Visiting the RSPB Minsmere reserve was an eyeopener: This really is intelligent design!

In 2013 I did the ´Pushing the Bundaries Tour´ with Martin Garner of Birding Frontiers. A marathon of bird club visits, meeting inspiring people and doing some great birding too. We are very happy to say Martin Will join us at the Flamborough talk, to present give a new talk about "Arctic Birding in Yorkshire". Pioneering as always, I am sure!

Now we set out on a new UK adventure: I hope to meet you at some of the venues, or perhaps we will meet somewhere in an RSPB reserve. Updates and news will follow on twitter @BiotopeOffice

To be continued...

Tormod Amundsen - architect & birder

22 January 2015

Arkitekter med luft under vingene


Artikkel fra magasinet Arkitektur N (nr8-2014) / Article from Norwegian Architecture magazine Arkitektur N (This article about Biotope is in Norwegian, but with an English summary at the end ).

Biotope er verdens første fuglekikkerarkitektkontor. De har skapt en egen nisje for sin virksomhet ved å koble kunnskaper som vanligvis ikke møtes. Tormod Amundsen forteller om arbeidet som fuglekikkerarkitekt i Varanger:

31 December 2014

The Dark Knights



Arctic chillout

Purple Sandpipers are some of the toughest birds on the planet. Too often these birds go by unnoticed, and they are rarely on any ´top birds list´. In fact in Varanger we often make that mistake too. The striklingly beautiful King Eiders and Steller´s Eider grab our attention. It is about time we make a tribute to the toughest of birds. These guys are found in Varanger all year, and somehow they manage survive the arctic winter.

13 December 2014

Northern Norway Architecture Award 2014 to Biotope


"Nordnorsk arkitekturpris tildeles ´Fugleskjul i Varanger´, mottaker: Biotope"

Juryens begrunnelse:
"Nordnorsk arkitekturpris 2014 gis til et prosjekt som forholder seg til årstidsrytmene og kombinerer kunnskap og erfaring fra forskjellige fagfelt. På strategiske punkter, i forhold til globale migrasjonsmønster, skaper prosjektet en diskret infrastruktur for tilstedeværelse og observasjon. Prosjektet legger til rette for miljøbevisst turisme, stedsutvikling og forskning. Her kan besøkende komme nært innpå livsrytmen til de fugleartene som gjester kysten vår hvert eneste år."

24 November 2014

Eagle island Smøla


Getting a grip on nature destination development  

In 2013 a group of tourism businesses and the local municipality on island Smøla (west coast Norway) asked us to work with them on developing Smøla as a nature destination. Digging in to new tasks with such a holistic approach is a privilege, and without doubt one of the most desired projects for us to work with.

16 November 2014

Arctic architecture - new wind shelters in Kongsfjord & Båtsfjord


The northern part of the Varanger peninsula has some of the most amazing landscape in Eastern Finnmark. Two of our favourite places to go birding are the small towns, Berlevåg and Båtsfjord. Both are fishing harbours with less then 2000 inhabitants. In addition we have the village Kongsfjord and Veines with just a handful of people living there. In this weatherbeaten and wild landscape you can now find

26 October 2014

BIRDING ICELAND - Harlequin Ducks & more niceness along the Northeast Iceland birding trail



Harlequin Ducks in Laxa river, Northeast Iceland, october 2014


Northeast Iceland - nature destination development

Biotope recently visited Iceland, invited by the people behind the Northeast Iceland Birding Trail. Naturally we were quite excited about getting this request. Iceland is well known in the birding world as one of the best places in the world to expereience birds like the stunning Harlequin Duck and the Iconic Gyrfalcon. 


14 September 2014

Birding Svalbard, Arctic Norway


Svalbard is one of the northernmost civilized places in the world. It is famous for Polar Bears and amazing arctic wildlife. I recently got back from a very brief visit to Svalbards main town Longyear. This autumn I have been invited to give talks at several conferences. In our work as birders and architects we have

04 May 2014

Puffin fight club


At Hornøya bird cliff the Puffins have to fight for their right to party. As in all densely inhabited places there is a lot of drama. Hornøya bird cliff is no exception. From March to August this is home to 100 000 sea birds. Among the most famous of birds are the Puffins. Most people see Puffins as cute little birds that  quietly sit in the bird cliff. They do that too. But when these birds arrive the bird cliff in March they fight

17 April 2014

Hornøya bird cliff - site development scheme / mulighetsstudie


Hornøya is perhaps the finest nature attraction in Varanger. The birdlife of Hornøya bird cliff have become famous among birders and nature photographers around the globe. In Vardø locals have a long tradition of gathering eggs on Reinøya and Hornøya, however this has not been practiced in recent years. Now locals are also increasingly becoming aware of Hornøya Island's unique position as a nature attraction. Many companies in Vardo benefit from Hornøya today through nature based tourism. With facilitation like the new bird hide / wind shelter on Hornøya, this attraction has become a destination for the city's kindergartens and schools too.