Mattabeseck Audubon Society, Portland, CT

Sited in a defunct cranberry bog, this bird sanctuary was mostly underwater due to a family of beavers, making it difficult for the local Audubon society to observe, research and enjoy migratory patterns. Splitframe was constructed as a response to this problem, maximizing environmental exposure while minimizing impact. The result of an undergraduate design-build studio, we worked with the client, secured materials, constructed and installed SplitFrame over the course of 12 weeks. We drew heavily on traditional bird blind typologies for the design.

At the core of the project are two integral pieces: a floating observation deck and an elevated viewing platform, connected by a hinged staircase that allows the deck to rise and fall with shifting water levels. Sustainability was a major consideration: we used American grown Cypress, which requires no coating or sealant to resist moisture, and 100% recyclable aluminum for the structure. Only two saplings were cut down during install, the decking material allows 70% light infiltration to allow for natural processes below, and the entire platform touches the site with only six 1' footings. Material efficiency was a driving concern, and to limit disturbance of the site, the structure was fabricated off-site and installed with hand tools.

Press: Landscape Architecture Magazine, Dwell, Architectural Record, Journal of Architectural Education
Awards: AIA Small Projects Award (honor), Connecticut DEP Green Circle Award