25 January 2012

Ørland revisited - back to the roots

and with more on being birder architects..

We just revisited Grandefjæra on Ørlandet. Here you can find our first built project: Grande Amfi, or Grande outdoor amphitheater & bird tower: concept and design by Biotope. This was a birding-to-the-people-project, aimed at making it easy to bring a school class or tour group, and spend the day in what is one of Norways largest continous tidal areas - a Ramsar area and a fantastic place for birds, and for birders. 

After this project we have continued to work with the good people of Ørland Cultural Centre. We are now designing a destination development scheme with a focus on the unique qualities of Ørland. With good reason they are aiming at making the natural resources of Ørland a central part of their identity. We are very happy to be a part of this work: 

Ørlandet is actually where I grew up as a birder! This is where me and my birding friends got our ´ornithological education´.

We have spent countless days walking, biking and driving around every part of this fantastic place at Norway´s outer Trondheims fjord. Photos above are from the early 1990´s : There is not a patch of land we did not visit. Facilities for birders were few, but we have stayed many nights and days at the few bird hides that was there. Cheap accomodation for young birders out on a mission to find great birds, and learn everything there is to know about birds. It is safe to say that we where more than average interested in birds and nature.

Above photocopy is from one of my many bird notebooks - full of sketches and bird registrations (early 90´s style..). Allways trying to find out new things and sorting out the species, plumage differences, behaviour and more.

Being a vast tidal landscape, Ørlandet is a fantastic place for waders. Learning the Calidris waders, and being able to identify the species from a long distance was allways a challenge. Dunlin above (myrsnipe, Calidris alpina). Below is another typical page from my bird notebook, species records, a note on weather, and here a sketch study on the difference of proportion / style of the feet of foraging Dunlin versus Purple Sandpiper. Very usefull insight when trying to sort out the species in bad light conditions and at a distance. Like I stated: more then avarage interested for a teenager..

Birding is great in countless ways (enough to make a longer article on the subject later, and not here..). Birding is very much about being in the nature, at any time. However there are moments when you wish you had stayed home, like (below) when a snow blizzards sets in and there is nothing else to do then sit tight, keep warm and wait for the weather to ease up - so you can do more birding.

It was at times like these I would fantasize about more sheltered places : architecture for birders was needed! 

Years later we are now back in Ørland - back to the roots, as birder architects - to do more birding, and make new facilities for birders. And of course we aim to invite others to enjoy nature too. Birding to the people!

 Gande Amfi above.

View from Grande Amfi above (January 2012) and below (from opening day in 2010)

We are now working on a detailed scheme for developing Ørland as a destination with a focus on its natural qualities: This begins as you enter the main town, Brekstad, with the Cultural centre being expanded  with a Nature Centre, a new nature trail, more bird hides, etc

In May this room (below) in the Cultural Centre will look very different! 

Tune in to www.biotope.no to follow the development on Ørland. 

Tormod A. / Biotope