The Botanical Garden in Linz is one of the most beautiful and species-rich gardens in Austria: some 10,000 different plant species can be seen, different biotopes can be discovered and unique areas can be experienced on an area of approximately 4.2 hectares. Various events and exhibitions throughout the year provide a varied and entertaining programme for the people of Linz and all visitors to the Botanical Garden.

In 2021, BASEhabitat has added a new building to the Botanical Gardens: a pavilion made of natural materials that blends into the impressive garden landscape. The compact pavilion offers a seating area, opens up to various green oases in the surrounding area and provides exhibition and information area for visitors of all ages.

The central design theme was the fine line between object and context, and the exploration of the symbiosis between man-made architecture and placemaking and the green, natural landscape of the Botanic Gardens. Discretion and tranquillity characterise the new site. The pavilion is not ostentatious, it does not intrude, but brings the various biotopes of the garden to the fore. The new building is in harmony with its surroundings and respectfully complements the existing qualities of the Botanical Garden.

Images and Plans


Technical Description

The design brief was defined with the coordinator, gardeners and staff of the botanical garden. After visiting the site and through several discussions, the students gathered important information and defined the key details of the design project. With a designated area of 20-25 square metres, it became clear that the pavilion would need to be accessible to all, built with respect for the garden habitat and the soil, with a seating area and an information space, while providing shelter from the sun and the rain.

The project began with a week-long design competition between ten students divided into three groups. Two concept ideas were presented to the Botanic Garden team using drawings and physical models, but only one concept was then selected and developed within two months by a group of three students. Suggestions from the client were incorporated into the design as it progressed from concept through detailing to construction.

The pavilion is inspired by the organic shapes of mushrooms, leaves and undergrowth. The floor plan is based on a simple grid of wooden dowels screwed together to form an organic shape. A screw foundation was chosen to avoid the intrusion of concrete into the garden soil. 

The students, together with the construction manager, built a mock-up of the wooden dowels to test their stability and of the edge of the roof to understand how to assemble it. A list of necessary tools and materials was drawn up, along with a timetable for the construction site and a budget estimate. An architect's office helped us apply for planning permission. The construction work, which was carried out by five students and the site manager, started at the beginning of June and took a month to complete.

Using 3D modelling, one of the students designed a detailed construction plan for each layer of the structure so that each wooden dowel could be cut and placed in the correct position on site. By cutting each piece of wood, a bench was created to invite visitors to linger and observe, with an area for information boards on the opposite side. The wooden planks for the roof were cut and assembled at an angle to allow water to drain away. In addition, there are openings that provide a targeted view of the natural surroundings. 

Although it is always a challenge to fit the semester structure into a real project, this design-build project took one semester. 


Transportation of Skill
Project Context
Project Type
Agriculture / Foresting / Gardening
Construction Methods/Techniques