On an artificial mound in a landscape that was once quarried for gravel, a 12-metre observation tower looms over the rural vistas. It has been constructed using the rammed earth technique. The client wished to create a place in this new nature reserve that fosters meaningful relationships with the surroundings: allowing people to feel as though they are in the middle of nowhere, for example, while still being within walking distance from the inhabited world. The triangular ground plan of the tower was determined by the views selected by the architects. The rammed earth technique draws upon local materials and traditions, thereby strengthening the tower’s relationship with the surrounding landscape. In association with international experts (including BC Architects & Studies from Brussels), the architects constructed the first contemporary, public rammed earth structure in Belgium. Seven concrete staircases and landings are supported by a concrete core and by the earthen outer walls, which are made from locally-extracted soil, gravel and sand. As a result of its exposure to wind and weather, the walls with gradually erode. The Maas Valley gravel in the walls will become more pronounced and lend the tower a unique surface structure.
This project is published in Flanders Architectural Review N°13. This Is a Mustard Factory