Words by Smiley Team
High up in the canopy of northern Sweden’s pine forests, a hotel of treehouses is offering a new sanctuary for both humans and nature. The Biosphere room at the Treehotel, surrounded by birdhouses, creates shelter and feeding grounds for declining local bird populations.
Described as a “future-focused concept”, the room’s design team at Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) collaborated with an ornithologist on the project to create a hospitable space for feathered occupants as well as people.
To achieve this, Ulf Öhman, chair of the Norrbotten Ornithological Association will bring 350 birdhouses of various sizes to the site to attach to the room in an arrangement that will still permit light to enter.
“Demonstrating the use of bird nests and feeding, not just at the Treehotel but for people to install near their own homes, is valuable,” Ulf said. “An initiative from Treehotel to take such measures may inspire their visitors to do the same.”
Northern Sweden is home to some of the world’s most threatened species, including the Arctic fox and lynxes. Bird populations offer an important indicator of the health of other wildlife populations and sadly, birds have declined in recent years.
Ulf explained: “Inventories in Norrbotten County, carried out by us as ornithologists and by the County Administrative Board, show that a number of different bird populations are decreasing.”
Deforestation has cleared away trees that would otherwise offer sanctuaries to passing birds in natural crevices where they can breed and feed their young. Meanwhile, climate change has shrunk the insect population - a vital food source for birds.
“The installation of bird nests is, therefore, an important measure to take,” Ulf added.
It was BIG founder and creative director Bjarke Ingels who came up with the idea for Biosphere after staying at the hotel. He envisaged the space as a haven where humans could be fully immersed in nature.
Inside the room is pragmatic while allowing guests to observe the birds nesting around them through glass walls. They can also enjoy the view from a roof terrace of the surrounding wildlife and nature.
DONATE: Help protect Sweden’s wildlife and nature. Donate to The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
SUPPORT: To support birdlife in the UK, get involved with the RSPB.