Connecting landscape and landmark formed a basis for the winning design by NEXT architects for the Hoge Blekker, a watchtower on the Belgian coast. The watchtower gets its name from the Hoge Blekker in Koksijde, the highest dune of the Belgian coast. A helix-shaped staircase leads visitors up to a platform at a height of 20 meters to experience the view of the horizon.
The way up is closed by the wooden lamellae, which partially shroud the view on the landscape; on the top of the tower the view can be enjoyed in its full glory. This play between open and closed, extrovert and introvert, reinforces the experience of the landscape and of the tower itself. The Hoge Blekker is made almost entirely of slender wooden beams that together form a constructive unit. For the tower’s construction NEXT is collaborating with Ingenieurbüro Miebach, a German engineering office that specialises in the use of wood as a construction material.
The tensions between landscape and landmark, between integrated and autonomous, between movement and stillness, and between past and present are made visible in the Hoge Blekker watchtower. The design builds upon the history of the place, the identity and experience of the dunes. Hoge Blekker is one of the watchtowers that will be realised as part of the programme Horizon 2025. The watchtower is expected to be realised in 2019. Source and images Courtesy of NEXT.