Richlite cladding withstands floods at the Avian Observatory


Avian observatory

Students from Washington University in St Louis worked with professors Andrew Colopy and Ken Tracy to design, fabricate and construct this brutalist observatory. Set within a bird sanctuary, the structure is a stopping point and home to over 300 species, bird watchers and schools. The design intends to minimise any disturbance from the surrounding trails and service routes while creating a sequence of views focused on landmarks and informational graphics to enhance visitors' enjoyment and educational experience.

The surfaces were selected and patterned in effect to use camouflage - not for the structure - but to hide visitors and avoid causing distress to sensitive species of birds. Incorporating paper composite Richlite, the cladding will deepen and patina over time as it wears and settles in with the elements. Selecting materials with impressive durability, the façade can contend with the modest floods from nearby ponds.




St. Louis Graduate School or Architecture




Richlite Chocolate Glacier + Maple Valley


Missouri, USA

Richlite maple valley and chocolate glacier hide away visitors to the Avian Observatory