The Somers bird hide is located within newly re- established wetlands, adjacent to and extending the internationally significant Parks Victoria run Coolart wetlands. It is a small structure located within the large, ecological scale of this coastal wetlands area, extending between private land and public land.
The project was devised in response to the desire of architecture students to be involved with a real construction project. It was designed, detailed, fabricated and assembled by ten architecture students and two design tutors. Building components were fabricated in the workshop and the structure was assembled on site in three days. The steel footing system was selected to minimize soil disturbance and it can be easily removed. Prefabricated wall panels hang from the roof structure and provide bracing to the structure. All the timber structure, timber cladding and roof cladding is recycled material.
Working across scales from the 1:1 detail scale to the large environmental scale questions of how to site, how to occupy and how to build in this place were explored. The ways of making and material qualities of timber were studied alongside consideration of the migration, breeding and feeding habits of birds.