Observatory – Cobble habitat
Project by Carlo Scoccianti | Interventions

The observatory was designed to observe the waterfowl in the adjacent lake area (site-specific intervention, refer to Beyond Agnes Denes (Tribute to)). Its structure however was conceived to construct simultaneously a giant refuge destined for all kinds of animal species (reptiles, amphibians, micro-mammals, insects, etc). The walls, for this purpose, were constructed in wire mesh (so as to ensure ease of entry and exit for all species at each point), within which are walls of stone without mortar. Wildlife thus finds shelter and may reside within the observatory thanks to the ample availability of gaps and spaces present between the stones. While man may only use the construct for a few hours at a time a week (usually during the guided tours that take place on Saturdays and Sundays), the other species will remain there throughout the year, day and night. Both the use of the space –meant for creatures other than man– and the studies of the technical feasibility of such a project, reveal a new design methodology for territory. This place must be understood as a site that guarantees the presence of a multitude of species (man included) that share resources. 


The 'cobbles' used in the intervention comes from the ancient alluvial drifts of the Arno and the Florentine plain created by tributary water courses created thousands of years ago. On these cobbles you can see the traces where the water used to run, fossilized on the surface. Therefore this creates a dialogue between the new wetland visible from the observatory, deliberately made by man after hundreds of years of forced drainage of the plain when land was reclaimed, and what used to be the ancient panorama of the territory which water once used to dominate. 



Work-element realized within the work-site 



Focognano Lakes


Type of intervention

Construction of a new observatory in wire mesh (square mesh: 6 x 6 cm) filled with alluvial cobbles. The covered area equals 37.3 cubic meters. The observatory is located on one side of the new Lake Garille recently completed (see  After Agnes Denes (Tribute to)). Numerous volunteers are involved in the work (social art) particularly in regards to finding the stone, transport of material and creation of observatory walls. 


Stage of the project



Main bio-indicators (species or ‘groups’ of species)  reference for monitoring the ecological functionality of the Work-Site:

- Amphibians (with particular attention to: Italian crested newt,  Triturus carnifex ; Smooth newts,  Lissotriton vulgaris;, green toads,  Bufo viridis ; Italian tree frog,  Hyla intermedia ): refuge throughout the winter and summer periods.  

- Reptiles (with particular attention to: Moorish gecko, Tarentola mauritanica; Slow worm,  Anguis fragilis; Western green lizard,  Lacerta bilineata; Common wall lizard,  Podarcis muralis; Italian wall lizard,  Podarcis sicula; Western whip lizard,  Hierophis viridiflavus; Grass snake,  Natrix natrix): refuge.

-Micro-mammals: refuge.

Main authorities / agencies  involved in the intervention

- Comitato per le Oasi WWF dell'Area Fiorentina