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NEXT Architects, Friesland, observation tower

Constructed Geology: Lookout Point by NEXT Architects in Frisia

De Centrale As, a 24-kilometre section of road planned by NEXT Architects and landscape architects H+N+S, was opened near Leeuwaarden in October 2016. Along with bridges, supporting walls and equipment details, NEXT Architects were responsible for several works of art along the route. One of these is the lookout tower known as It Goddeloas Fiersicht – the godless view  – that has now been inaugurated by the village of Feanwâlden. Artist Paul Edens was also involved in the design of the tower.

The unique name of the tower has its roots in the late Middle Ages. Back then, a footpath connected two nearby monasteries. Many ghost stories arose about this path and the landscape it crossed. However, in the architecture of the tower, NEXT Architects and Paul Edens refer to the geological creation story of Frisia: during the last ice age, this strip of land was covered with 7.5 metres of ice, which corresponds exactly to the height of the new tower. The structure is made of layers of curved prefabricated concrete elements in four shades of grey which take up the colours of local types of stone. Moreover, they call to mind the characteristic multicoloured layers found in glaciers.

The floor plan of the tower describes an irregular oval with a double-layered exterior wall and an open inner courtyard. Between the two wall layers, a stairway – also of prefab concrete elements - winds its way up to the lookout deck. In the gravelled courtyard, visitors can admire several large boulders that were dug up during the work on De Centrale As.
Further information:

Paul Edens
Construction documentation:
Sustainability consulting:
Altenburg & Wymenga
Contracting business:
G. de Haan & Zn. Noppert Beton
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