Viewpoint for Camley Street Natural Park

Now Open

  • Photo courtesy of John Sturrock
  • Viewpoint from Camley Street Natural Park, photo courtesy of John Sturrock
  • View from Granary Square bridge, photo courtesy of Max Creasy
  • Viewpoint being craned onto the Regent's Canal, courtesy of Max Creasy
  • Viewpoint being pushed into place, courtesy of Max Creasy
  • Viewpoint being installed, photo courtesy of John Sturrock
  • Viewpoint in use, photo courtesy of Max Creasy
  • Viewpoint, photo courtesy of Max Creasy

The Architecture Foundation and The Finnish Institute in London are delighted to have realised this project in collaboration with London Wildlife Trust. Aarti, Ollila & Ristola, a team of emerging Finnish designers, were commissioned to design and deliver a permanent Viewpoint structure for Camley Street Natural Park located in London’s King’s Cross.

The structure, which was built in Autumn/Winter 2013, will serve as a viewing platform and additional workshop facility for the London Wildlife Trust’s popular Camley Street Natural Park. The nature reserve, which sits alongside Regents Canal, welcomes 30,000 visitors a year and acts as an invaluable study centre for many local London schools. Camley Street’s new structure will allow London Wildlife Trust to expand its educational remit by hosting additional workshops to examine and monitor the canal and its associated wildlife. The park provides a natural habitat for birds, butterflies, amphibians and a rich variety of plant life on its unique two acres of wild green space right in the heart of London.

Aarti, Ollila & Ristola were selected through a competitive process.  Three emerging Finnish architectural teams, Erkko Aarti & Arto OllilaEsa Ruskeepää Architects (ERA); and Heikki Muntola & Toni Österlund, were invited to submit a proposal for the Camley Street Viewpoint that responded to this unique site. Following this competitive process the commissioning partners along with a panel of jury members selected Erkko Aari & Arto Ollila's 'Habitat Island' as the winning proposal.   The jury included Marcos Cruz, Director of the Bartlett School of Architecture; Owen Pritchard, Deputy Editor, Icon Magazine and Ken Trew, Project Director, Argent. 

Erkko Aarti & Arto Ollila were lated joined by Mikki Ristola to form the final design team.

The three practices competing for the commission were selected from a long list of eight practices nominated by Finnish architects Ville Hara (Avanto Architects), Vesa Oiva (Anttinen-Oiva Architects) and Samuli Woolston (ALA Architects). The nominators who are themselves key representatives of a new generation of architects working in Finland took part in the New Architects: Finland_UK Exchange Programme curated by the Finnish Institute, The Architecture Foundation and the Museum of Finnish Architecture in 2012. 

Viewpoint will be open to the public from 10 February 2014. Access to Viewpoint over the next few weeks will be upon request only - please make contact with a member of London Wildlife Trust staff when on site at Camley Street Natural Park to be shown down to the structure. Should you have any further enquiries please contact Camley Street Natural Park on 020 7833 2311. More details with regard to Camley Street Natural Park can be found on their website:
Viewpoint Video: Ideas Behind The Platform

In this video, Camden area manager for London Wildlife Trust Phil Paulo and the Finnish architect Erkko Aarti, explain the benefits, uses and the idea behind the floating platform.

Viewpoint Video: An Urban Island Hideaway

An overview of the context in which Viewpoint is being realised showcasing Camley Street Natural Park in relation to the Regent's Canal and the wider regeneration of King's Cross.

Viewpoint Video: Viewpoint Architects at LDF 2013

The Finnish Institute in London organised a series of architectural talks during London Design Festival 2013 to preview Viewpoint, An Urban Island Hideaway for Camley Street Natural Park.


This project was made possible through the generous support of King's Cross Central Limited Partnership


In Partnership with


The Finnish Institute in London and The London Wildlife Trust