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A tourist fortification, in Koblenz.Germany by Dethier Architecture.

Photo credits: Thomas Faes.

When the German town of Kloblenz wazs chosen as the site to host the Bundesgartenschau, a 185 day biennial horticultural show that attracts some 3.6 million visitors, the town seized the opportunity to develop its own identity as a tourist destination. A kind of open-sided gallery was required, from which the large-scale event could be viewed.

The Belgian based practice of Dether Architecture was commissioned to design a belvedere that cantilevers out from a rolling hill to a height of 10m above the ground. The site itself is part of the Ehrenbreitstein fortress, a UNESCO world heritage site. The belvedere addresses the ancient fortress foundations and pathways in its angular form, so metaphorically raising a new battlement. In this way, visitors can get the impression of what it might have been like to stand atop the fortifications.

The belvedere not only gives tourists a look-out over the town and its festival, but it extends a warm invitation to be part of the town's history and civic pride.

The structure is made from Douglas Fir and weathering steel that will rust to a deep brown colour before becoming chemically stable. In time, its colour will settle into the green hillside and become a reddish accent on the landscape in the way that the painter, John Constable, gave that masterful touch of red to paintings such as the Hay Wain.

Gratitude to Design Boom.

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