connecting landscape and landmark forms a basis for the winning design by NEXT architects for the ‘hoge blekker’, a watchtower on the belgian coast. the competition run by the municipality of koksijde, the province of west-vlaanderen and westtoer, is meant to emphasize the experience of the landscape in the touristic regions. 

 

 

the watchtower gets its name from the highest dune of the region; 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 covered with 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 contrast of open and closed reinforces the experience of the landscape and of the tower itself.

 

 

paris has the eiffel tower and koksijde has the hoge blekker. for residents and tourists, this is going to become the icon and the landmark of our city,’ says marc van den bussche, the major of koksijde. the silver-grey color of aging wood has a sober look and fits well within the natural grey tones of the dune landscape, while still being attractive through the expressive shape. NEXT’s tower the plays upon the tension between landscape and landmark, integrated and autonomous, movement and stillness, and between past and present.

 

project info:

 

location: koksijde, belgium

client: provincie west-vlaanderen, gemeente koksijde and westtoer

height: 21 m (height)

status: competition

preliminary design: january 2018

final design: t.b.a.

start building: t.b.a.

completion: t.b.a.

design team: bart reuser, marijn schenk, michel schreinemachers with jouke sieswerda, jorn kooijstra, lisette janssen, marta lata

construction advisor: ingenieurbureau miebach

 

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