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Silent Disco

Gentle padding of the mossy floor to the gentle flutter of feathered wings as they spread overhead. These are the fleeting moments that we often overlook as we walk through the surrounding forests. Architecture students from the Estonian Academy of Arts wanted to amplify the natural sounds of the forest for visitors. They designed a set of giant timber megaphones which magnified the sounds of the surroundings, whilst also allowing people to contemplate and rest.

Installed in a densely forested site in the Pähni Nature Centre, near the Latvian border, the country itself is covered by 50% so these giant megaphones bring a new dimension to the clearings within the forest. Measuring 3 metres at its widest, it provides a space that can completely encompass the people, and allowing people to rest within. These structures were built off-site at the capital Tallin before being transported on site. They were positioned around a small clearing creating a 'bandstand'; taking in from three directions would create a unique merged sound effect.

"The megaphone installation provides an excellent opportunity to experience the meeting of contemporary architectural space and wild nature, and it is freely accessible for foreigners as well as local travellers.

The project has its origins in a workshop carried out in the woods by Derelict Furniture designers Tõnis Kalve and Ahti Grünberg and Aet Ader, Karin Tõugu, Kadri Klementi and Mari Hunt from architecture studio B210. The brief brought in literary pieces and the narratives of story-based concepts, envisioning a forest library with Valdur Mikita, an Estonian author who writes about the importance of forests to Estonian culture.

"It's a place to listen, to browse the audible book of nature – there hasn't really been a place like that in Estonia before," said Mikita.

There have been other projects within this very same forest. 'A Path in the Forest' was winding elevated pathway by Tetsuo Kondo Architects. The 95 metre trail was supported by steel tubes that rest against the tree trunks, using the natural elements and making no additional columns. As the person would walk above the appearance of the woods would slightly change. Or Jaanus Orgusaar faceted woodland cabin. It embraces the beauty of the national park and brings a new addition to Estonia's rich forest culture.


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