ATTRACTIONS CLAD PEOPLE
The structure appears to defy gravity. Its red-brown colour is a reference to the ironstone found locally
STAIRWAY TO THE SKY Project: Vlooyberg Tower Location: Tielt Winge, Belgium Architects: Close to the Bone Architecture practice Close
“Modelling the Vlooyberg Tower
to the Bone have blurred the
was a war against its own weight.”
boundary between a stairway
The tower is more than 11m (36ft)
and an observation tower
high and and is built on a galvanised
by building a gravity-defying
sub-structure clad in weathering steel,
monument in a Belgian forest.
a reference to the red-brown colour
The studio were commissioned
of the ironstone found in the region.
to build an observation point in the
To ensure the structure would
municipality of Tielt-Winge, after
be strong enough and would not
a popular wooden lookout tower
sag, Close to the Bone manually
was destroyed by arsonists.
calculated the forces acting in each
The brief called for a new
element and selected a suitable form
landmark that could survive the
and dimensions. As a result, the
elements and attack from vandals.
tower weighs less than 13 tonnes.
Their solution was Vlooyberg
A railing wall functions as a
Tower, a huge corten steel stairway
structural beam that makes the steel
that raises up from the ground
structure strong and stable enough
seemingly without support.
to withstand the forces acting on it,
IMAGES: CLOSE TO THE BONE
“Instead of a conventional construction with a spiral staircase, we conceived a suspended volume
while two shock absorbers stop the tower from vibrating under foot. The structure was fully
without too many decorative frills,”
prefabricated and assembled on site
said the studio in a statement.
section by section in just half a day.