Putten, the Netherlands 2004 - 2008
What can a financially under-achieving country estate gain from building an observation tower and a connecting tunnel under the road that splits the park in two? Will it attract the desired 50,000 visitors per year with the associated income, and will this extra income be absorbed by serving these visitors?
The current management originally proposed a raised walkway at tree-top level but soon realised that this would be unattainable with the available budget. Consequently, the concept of a forest tower was mooted. This was envisioned as a condensed route with all the facets of a forest walk, rather than a simple vertical climb. The ‘branches’ of the tower provide opportunities for different activities and perspective views along the vertical route. On occasion, only the sky, the branches, the ground or a panorama can be seen. At a height of 30m, visitors can enter a net climbing tunnel or a sloping play area. The route is terminated not by the expected panorama platform but, rather, a new part of the forest. From this position further experimentation on conifer growth at elevated heights can take place.
Putten, the Netherlands
Gross floor area 40 m²
Design architect: SeARCH, Architect Wesley Lanckriet (now at U/Define architects)
Images by SeARCH