This competition tasked participants with envisioning a visitor observation platform to be constructed atop Nemrut, a volcano located in eastern Turkey. Positioned at an altitude of 2,800 metres at the southern edge of the dormant volcano, the intent of this new landmark is to provide unobstructed views overlooking the extraordinary caldera and its internal lakes, as well as the immense Lake Van to the east.
A caldera is a large depression formed when the ground surface collapses into the emptied magma chamber following a volcanic eruption, becoming a crater. With a total area of 4,800 hectares, and a diameter varying from 7 to 8.5 km, the Nemrut caldera is among the largest in the world. A pair of lakes within the crater - Lakes Ilı and Nemrut - support a microclimate with flora and fauna unique to the region, in part because the water bodies are fed by hot springs and never fully freeze during the winter months.
Participants were asked to deliver proposals for a 20 sqm iconic viewing station designed in consideration of this unique natural environment. The competition was not limited to a strict budget, but participants were recommended to conceive designs on the scale of US $100k. Given the site and limited access, submissions with cost-effective, environmentally-responsible and energy-efficient construction methods were viewed favorably. Access from a nearby ski lift station to the site should also have been considered in the design.
A number of factors were discussed by the jury while reviewing the submissions: If a platform were to be constructed, firstly can it offer something which the volcano’s current peak does not - shelter, new perspectives, or accessibility? Can it perform as a landmark that might encourage more visitors to make the journey to the natural marvel of the Nemrut caldera? Can it question given assumptions as to how a viewing station should function? Bee Breeders would like to thank each participant for their part in assembling a rich trove of new design ideas.
Jury feedback summary
In what was among the most striking proposals, ‘Upservatory’ takes cues from well-known ballooning sites over the vast Cappadocia in central Turkey. This proposal considers the viewing station as a mobile, 20m²-circular platform elevated into the air by a hot air balloon with an asymmetrical form. The platform is accessed from an entry station near to the mountain’s ski lift; once elevated, the balloon-carried deck follows a guide rail cantilevered well over the peak’s edge, permitting visitors unrestricted views of the caldera and the surrounding geography. In a series of simple, captivating drawings, the submission succeeds in describing a completely new experience for observing Mount Nemrut. The jury encourages the designer to further study the structural implications of the roller-coaster-like guide rail. While the images show a project with minimal impact to the landscape, can it really be built so finely and meanwhile achieve such a cantilever? Can it be used year-round? How is it operated and maintained?