NEXT architects' watchtower design, Hoge Blekker, has won the competition to create a landmark attraction for the Belgian coast. The competition was run by the Municipality of Koksijde, the Province of West-Vlaanderen and Westtoer to emphasize the experience of the landscape in the touristic regions. Hoge Blekker is one of the watchtowers that will be realized as part of the program Horizon 2025.
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 65 feet to experience the view of the horizon. Wooden lamellae partially obscure the view as visitors journey up, with the reward of a full 360 degree view at the top. This design was conceived to reinforce the landscape view and the tower itself within its surroundings.
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 withIngenieurbüro Miebach, a German engineering office that specializes in the use of wood as a construction material. NEXT architects' watchtower fits within a larger series of landmarks such as the Elastic Perspective in Rotterdam, which is entirely made out of weathering steel, and the It Goddeloas Fiersicht in the Northern Dutch Province of Friesland, made of concrete blocks.
The Hoge Blekker watchtower is expected to be realized in 2019.
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