Tij Observatory

The egg shaped observatory gets its namesake from a Dutch wordplay joke. Tij is the Dutch word for tide, referencing the changing tides in its location - Haringvliet, but pronounced quickly, it sounds like the dutch word for egg. The designers ran with the joke and produced a beautiful ‘egg’, or sphere shaped wooden structure for viewing the surrounding coastline. 


The observatory not only takes aesthetic cues from the egg, but also its structural makeup. A ‘nest’ that houses the egg has ‘feathers’, made up of structural chestnut posts, surrounded by reeds and dunes, which partially bury the egg. 

The spherical ‘egg’ body was generated parametrically via CAD software, allowing the extremely accurate makeup of the individual timber members to be fabricated with a CNC router off-site. 3D modelling of the project allowed experimentation and precision in achieving the best strength-to-weight ratio, form building, and choosing where openings would cut. 

Designing the structure parametrically in 3D space also allowed engineers to specify timber sizes required to hold the sphere up, and resulted in a large span timber structure with relatively small timber components. 

The whole structure is made from 402 parts, all cut in a factory, and all assembled on site. The parts can be easily disassembled and reassembled at a new site, and in combination with the natural material use, the life cycle of the project is almost completely circular and sustainable. 

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