A TOWER THAT IS NOT

Watchtower Houthulst

The premise for the new watchtower of Knokkebrug was to establish a clear mark at the horizon. To do so, we simply stretched the stereotypical pin-shaped tower to become a plane and lifted it from the ground. Secured within a sculptural base at the ground, the watchtower marks the historical landscape of the fortress and calibrates the existing context with its many scattered elements.
Between the river Yzer, an old drawbridge, a small café, an electric post, the meandering lowlands, a walking trail, the farmer’s stables in the distance, … the watchtower serves as a missing link – the binder.

Following the dominant typology, the new watchtower is “infrastructural” – its main intent to facilitate and offer a layered experience of Knokkebrug.


Held up by only two columns and enwrapped in a perforated corrugated skin, it appears light and airy. And whilst its shape induces visibility, its skin is reflective, mirroring the seasonal changes of the Belgian skies – un ciel si bas qu’il fait l’humilité. (le plat pays, Jacques Brel)

Here you can download the full booklet.

project:     OW1806 Uitkijkpunt Knokkebrug Merkem WinVorm

location:    Knokkebrug, Houthulst (BE)

status:        international closed competition - finalist

with:          Compagnie-O, UTIL

year:          2019