24 December 2021

The "Fold it paper birds" by Biotope

The Steller´s Eider, King Eider and Harlequin Duck paper ´fold-it´ birds have spread their wings far and wide! We have given away hundreds of sheets at birding / outdoors festivals, as well as selling them to people visiting us at our office. We have also sent them to people around the world who have asked us for them. Now we want to give them away for free - as digital high resolution jpg-files. In the blogpost text below you will find links to the 3 different species we have made. So, if you want a do-it-yourself-challenge: Print the preferred bird species, preferably in A2 width (but A3 works as well, or just combine two A3´s) and fold away! The Steller´s Eider is the easiest to make (still. a challenge though! See video below), while the King Eider and Harlequin are tricky and very tricky! 

If you make a paper bird: feel free to share an image with us, through our social media! Thanks. 

Also: After years of leaving this website / blog non-active we're thinking of bringing some blog updates back to life. Some things are worth sharing, perhaps not in a website form, but just a small snippets of info, photos, videos etc, every once in a while. For the past years we have mostly posted news and views on our social media plattforms, but it just might be time to bring the blog back to life...

Steller´s Eider

Download link to the full resolution jpg-file for the Steller´s Eider paper bird
(note: copy the link into the browser  - and voila!)

Steller´s Eider, Vardø, Varanger, Norway - photo; Tormod Amundsen

12 June 2019

Biotope archives

Dear reader: 
This website (www.biotope.cloud) is no longer an active and updated website. This is the former www.biotope.no website which used to be our website / blog. The website features more then 100 articles or blogposts we have continously shared here since 2011. We have decided to keep it all online as a public archive. Many of the articles serve a lot of visitors to this website with all kinds of architecture and nature content. We have now moved on to make a new website on www.biotope.no 

Biotope is expanding our engagements, hence this re-organising of content. We hope you enjoy this website as the historical archive it now is. Feel free to connect with us on our new domain or on our various social media. Thank you!

24 June 2018

Visiting Northwest Iceland - a June Biotope tour

Iceland have become a must visit country for anyone keen on seeing spectacular nature and dramatic light and scenaries. At times it seems like every second image on Instagram is from Iceland. Understandably so, as it is by far one on the most photogenic places in the world. However it is also a fact that most people go to the same places. A couple of select waterfalls and a certain plane wreck must be one of Icelands most photographed places. Most of these places are found in south Iceland. Since Biotope started working in Iceland a couple of years ago we have been privileged to travel around in north Iceland. The less explored Iceland. In many of the places we visit we find ourselves being the only ones there. Not for the lack of stunning scenaries or spectacular photo opportunities, it is simply less known. 

Puffin close up at Drangey bird cliff

Needless to say we were very excited when the northwestern regions destination companies invited your truly and my two Biotope colleagues Monica and Raymond to visit the northwest this June! The aim of our trip was to explore new places for bird hides, nature shelters and to further collect material for a potential birding destination guide book. In other words: a dream job! 

29 March 2018

Join the Biotope team

UPDATE: The positions are filled 
(We are currently not in search for the below mentioned collegues. However: If you have awesome architect / technical design skills, and is very keen to work with us... let us know)

Biotope is an architecture office dedicated to nature. Through architecture we aim to bring people and nature closer together. We typically work with a wide range of small scale architecture projects, fascilitating for nature experiences. We specialise in outdoors living, birdwatching, nature photography, nature conservation and ecotourism projects. We are not your generalist architecture office working with everything from urbanism, housing to cultural buildings, etc. We love nature and we aim to work with organisations, companies and people that are passionate about nature. As such most of our work happens within the nature conservation and ecotourism scene. Through our work we aim to promote wildlife and nature, but we also see our work as being a great opportunity to positively contribute in rural communities such as Vardø where our office is based. In many ways we think of ourselves as destination designers and developers rather then architects for small scale buildings. We are a niche office, but that does not mean being narrowly focused in our work. In fact we work with everything from architecture to designing books, developing tourism concepts, branding, marketing, video productions, digital strategy, writing books and much more. We do not only provide architectural solutions for our clients we also help contextualise and promote both sigle architecture projects and onwards to destinations development projects. In many cases we do not wait for commisions to appear, but we initiate projects where we see possibilities. 

Vardø town and the Biotope office (currently under construction).

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.

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