Denizen Works designs “abstracted tree” viewing tower for Scottish botanical gardens

London-based architects Denizen Works has submitted planning for a observation tower containing a vertical gallery and bird hide at Inverewe Garden in Scotland. The design has been created in response to an open brief set for Denizen Works by the garden’s owners – the National Trust for Scotland – to create a viewing tower to draw more

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Belgium’s gravity-defying Vlooyberg Tower to be rebuilt and extended following arson attack

Engineering studio Close to Bone has announced plans to rebuild and enlarge the cantilevered viewing platform it built in Flanders, Belgium, which was severely damaged in an apparent explosion. Vlooyberg Tower was the victim of an arson attack in the early hours of Friday 29 June, according to a report by Flemish public broadcaster VRT. “The

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Former military lookout in Gibraltar transformed into glazed viewpoint

Arc Designs has created a cantilevered viewing platform, and walkway with a glazed floor, perched on one of the highest points of the Rock of Gibraltar. Named Skywalk, the viewing platform is built above an existing WWII military platform in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve that once served as a base for anti-aircraft Bofors guns. Arc Designs wrapped

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Winning concepts revealed in competition to design observation deck on Turkish volcano

A helium balloon tethered to a cantilevered track is among the winners in a competition to design a conceptual observation deck to overlook a volcano’s crater in eastern Turkey. The Volcano Eyes competition, which was held by Bee Breeders, set entrants the challenge of designing a 20 square-metre observation platform to perch at the top of Nemrut,

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MVRDV reveals plans for sinuous viewing platform on Dutch coast

Dutch firm MVRDV has won a contest to create a wave-like viewpoint that will sit on the northernmost point of Holland, providing vistas out towards the Wadden Sea. MVRDV won a competition organised by urban redeveloper Zeestad to create the public landmark for the municipality of Den Helder with its proposal SeaSaw. The brief called for a

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Bergersen Arkitekter’s Viewpoint Granasjøen is an angular lakeside cabin with a turfed roof

This compact timber-and-concrete cabin in the Norwegian village of Nerskogen incorporates large windows that angle upwards to make the most of views towards the nearby lake and mountain range. Trondheim studio Bergersen Arkitekter designed Viewpoint Granasjøen for the owner of a house that is situated close to Granasjøen lake in the Trollheimen mountain region. The cabin

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Charles Cunniffe spruces up treehouse in Aspen with local assistance

A dilapidated treehouse in Aspen has been rebuilt using vertical wooden slats and translucent panels by local firm Charles Cunniffe Architects, with plenty of help from the community. After years of weathering and disrepair, the two-storey timber viewing platform was revamped by Charles Cunniffe Architects (CCA), after the studio offered to redesign it as part

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Circular wooden tower provides panoramic birdwatching point on a Norwegian island

This wooden tower by Norwegian architect Lars J Berge provides an accessible hide for birdwatchers on an island north of Bergen. Herdla Birdwatching Tower is situated at the tip of Askøy – a low-lying island in Hordaland county, off Norway’s west coast. The landscape of open grasslands, shallow sea and freshwater ponds makes the area, called Herdla, an important

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Heatherwick’s Vessel structure nears completion at New York’s Hudson Yards

Work is almost complete on British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s giant honeycomb of interlinked staircases, placed at the centre of the Hudson Yards development in Manhattan. Images posted by Instagram users show that the Vessel structure has reached its full height, with all 154 staircases and 80 landings in place – forming a mile of walkways.

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Dubai Frame opens amid claims of copyright infringement

The controversial Dubai Frame has opened to the public, despite an ongoing copyright dispute with architect Fernando Donis, who won a competition to design the observation tower over a decade ago. Comprising a pair of 150-metre-tall towers linked by a 93-metre-wide bridge, the Dubai Frame opened to the public in Za’abeel Park on 1 January 2018.

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Sliding glass doors open concrete house by Narch to views of national park near Barcelona

This family home by Narch is crafted from concrete slabs, steel columns and sliding glazing that permits views out over a Spanish nature reserve. The Spanish architecture studio designed Calders House for clients with two young children for a plot in the small village of Calders, which sits on the edge of the Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac

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Mole Architects builds house “like a seagull’s wing” on Suffolk coast

An angular, asymmetric roof tops this house designed by Mole Architects for a site overlooking an estuary in Suffolk, England. Cambridge-based Mole Architects designed the two-storey Marsh Hill house for a couple, on a site overlooking the estuary of the River Alde. A dilapidated old property had to be demolished to make way for the new house. Planning regulations

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DFA proposes tallest timber observation tower to clean Central Park reservoir

New York studio DFA has envisioned a prefabricated timber tower for New York’s Central Park that would both filter a contaminated reservoir and provide views over the city. The temporary 712-foot-tall (220-metre) Central Park Tower would sit in the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, a 106-acre man-made lake that encompasses one-eighth of the park’s area and

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Rural Italian residence combines traditional stone exterior with contemporary details

Italian studio GGA Architects has transformed the site of an old hilltop settlement in the country’s Marche region into a contemporary house comprising stone structures perched on a pigmented concrete plinth. AP House is situated on top of one of the highest hills in the area around the ancient walled city of Urbino, in the

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Anmahian Winton’s zinc-clad observatory enables stargazing from a New Hampshire mountain

The top of this faceted private observatory in central New Hampshire, by Anmahian Winton Architects, rotates to provide different views of the night sky. The Gemma Observatory sits on a remote peak in the northeastern state, at the centre of a “dark” zone with a three-mile radius. Unobstructed by light pollution, the setting is ideal

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Cooke Fawcett’s rooftop observatory gives views of London’s skyline from above a Peckham car park

Architecture studio Cooke Fawcett has built an elevated walkway atop a multi-storey car park in south London, a space that is also used as an open-air gallery by arts organisation Bold Tendencies. Called the Peckham Observatory, the steel-framed structure stands like a table over the entrance to the rooftop, which is also the venue of Frank’s Cafe – a campari bar covered by

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Malan Vorster’s treehouse-like residence offers views of Cape Town forest

Four cylindrical towers are elevated on stilts to create this retreat in Cape Town, which was designed by local studio Malan Vorster to offer views among the trees. The Cape Town-based architects designed the residence for a client who wanted their hide-away in the Constantia suburb of the South African capital that resembles a tree house. The aim was to respond to the

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Tatiana Bilbao’s Ventura House “grows organically” out from a forested Mexico hillside

This house by Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao comprises a cluster of five-sided concrete blocks that emerge from a forested hillside to offer panoramic views towards the city of Monterrey. The family home was designed by Bilbao’s Mexico City studio to occupy a steeply sloping plot with an awkward topography. The uneven terrain informed a proposal that extends across the site, composed of a

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Mirrored and transparent viewpoints proposed for China’s Zhangjiajie forest

French studio Martin Duplantier Architectes has proposed a series of bridges and viewpoints for Zhangjiajie National Forest Park – the site of the world’s longest and highest glass bridge. In Martin Duplantier Architectes’ €5 million (£4.2 million) plans for the park in China’s Hunan Province, mirrored structures perch on top of quartzite sandstone columns and span cliff edges.

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Mirrored viewing platform by Natura Futura is disguised against the Ecuadorean landscape

Projecting over a hillside in the Ecuadorean countryside, this small mirrored viewpoint was designed by Natura Futura Arquitectura as a rest stop for hikers (+slideshow). The Los Rios-based studio positioned The Invisible Portal on a trail that runs between Guaranda and Babahoyo in the Andes mountains. The 13-square-metre structure is made from wood but covered in mirrored panels that reflect the mist-filled valley More

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Heatherwick unveils staircase structure as “centrepiece” for New York’s Hudson Yards

British designer Thomas Heatherwick has revealed a honeycomb-like structure comprising a series of interconnected staircases to sit at the centre of the vast Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s West Side. Named Vessel, the giant sculpture was unveiled today by Heatherwick and New York mayor Bill de Blasio as “the centrepiece to a grand new public More

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“Slight technical hitch” traps 180 passengers inside world’s tallest moving observation tower

A technical fault trapped 180 passengers inside the doughnut-shaped viewing pod of the i360 observation tower last night, leaving them suspended above Brighton’s seafront for two hours. The viewing pod on the Marks Barfield Architects-designed British Airways i360 tower became struck at around 5.30 pm last night during a private party. “British Airways i360 experienced teething trouble last night which resulted in More

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Stockholm pylons converted into “picnic towers” in plans by architect Anders Berensson

Swedish architect Anders Berensson has unveiled conceptual plans to convert a pair of disused electricity pylons into observation towers in Stockholm’s Norra Djurgården national park. Named Power Tower, the project aims to make use of two of 12 disused electricity pylons in the city-centre park. Anders Berensson Architects was commissioned by the Royal Court of Sweden, More

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Mountainside platform by Code Arkitektur creates three vertiginous viewpoints

This triangular viewing platform perched on the edge of a mountain was created by Norwegian studio Code Arkitektur as a rest stop for one of the country’s picturesque tourist trails (+ slideshow). Called Utsikten, which translates as “the view”, the concrete structure is located near the top of Gaular mountain on Norway’s western coast. Its corners are raised, giving each spot a different More

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Kariouk Associates sneaks around planning laws to gain lake vistas for A Bower House

To gain views of Canada’s Lake Erie from a sheltered plot, architecture firm Kariouk Associates designed this house to include a “love nest” that pokes above the treetops (+ slideshow). The home on Niagara Peninsula is located close to the lake, but is surrounded by trees so lacks the draw of a water aspect. “The challenge More

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“World’s tallest moving observation tower” filmed by drones ahead of opening this week

With the Marks Barfield-designed i360 in Brighton set to open to the public this week, drones have shot new footage of the structure billed the “world’s tallest moving observation tower” (+ movie). The British Airways i360 tower comprises a giant glass-and-steel doughnut that moves up and down a 162-metre-high pole, offering views of up to 42 kilometres in all More

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OOPPEA builds wooden Periscope Tower beside lake in Finland

This lakeside observation pavilion by Finnish studio OOPEAA doubles as a giant periscope, so visitors don’t have to climb to the top to enjoy the view (+ slideshow). Located beside a lake near Seinäjoki, western Finland, the Periscope Tower invites guests to climb up a set of stairs to reach a balcony deck boasting views across the water. More

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“World’s tallest moving observation tower” prepares to welcome first passengers

A giant glass and steel doughnut that will transport passengers up and down a 162-metre-high pole is undergoing final tests ahead of its opening later this summer, according to designer Marks Barfield Architects. The installation of the 138-metre-high viewing pod was completed yesterday on the slender British Airways i360 tower in Brighton, England, paving the way for the attraction to More

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Bird-watching pavilions by Plant Architect are made from perforated plates of weathering steel

Plant Architect has used weathering steel to create a series of wing-like structures for bird watchers in a Toronto park, which are punctured with both patterns and information about local species (+ slideshow). Located in the city’s East Point Park Bird Sanctuary, structures were completed by the Toronto-based firm as part of a local initiative to More

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Cumulus Studio uses shipping containers to create lookout tower at a Tasmanian vineyard

Cumulus Studio has used shipping containers to create a lookout tower and wine-tasting space at a vineyard in Tasmania (+ slideshow). Cumulus Studio, which has offices in both Tasmania and Melbourne, designed the visitor facilities named Devil’s Corner Lookout and Cellar Door for the Brown Brothers winery in Apslawn. Constricted primarily from timber-clad shipping containers, the two structures provide More

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Philipp Bretschneider’s simple garden pavilion frames views over the Mediterranean

Architect Philipp Bretschneider has perched a garden viewpoint on a picturesque Mallorcan hillside, using the steel structure to frame views across the Mediterranean Sea (+ slideshow). The German architect, who is part of Munich-based collective H5 Architekten, was asked to create the small garden pavilion in the grounds of a family home on the Spanish island. “The clients are More

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Aerial cable car proposed for Chicago by Marks Barfield and Davis Brody Bond

Marks Barfield Architects and Davis Brody Bond have teamed up to design an aerial “gondola” that would stretch over the city of Chicago and serve as a major tourist attraction. Dubbed the Chicago Skyline, the cable car would transport passengers from the city’s Navy Pier to the Riverwalk and Millennium Park, right by the downtown district More

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Gravity-defying staircase by Close to Bone climbs up into the sky

This weathering steel staircase by engineering studio Close to Bone cantilevers off a hill in Flanders, forming an observation tower overlooking rolling farmland and the Kabouterbos forest (+ slideshow). Standing unsupported at almost 11.5 metres tall, the staircase “floats” above its picturesque setting in the the Tielt-Winge municipality. The structure known as Vlooyberg Tower was designed by More

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Thatched observatory installed on roof of 1930s Sonneveld House in Rotterdam

Mexican artist Santiago Borja has built a thatched observatory on the roof of one of Holland’s best-preserved Modernist houses (+ slideshow). Named A Mental Image – Blavatsky Observatory, Borja’s installation has been constructed on top of Sonneveld House in Rotterdam, a property designed in the 1930s by Dutch firm Brinkman & Van der Vlugt. The heptagonal structure transforms the simple roof terrace More

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Icosis Architects create stargazing lookout tower in the Scottish highlands

This cylindrical, larch-clad observation tower was designed by Icosis Architects to provide an elevated vantage point over picturesque bogland and night skies in Scotland (+ slideshow). The Forsinard Lookout Tower is located at the Dubh Lochan peat bogs in Sutherland, which form part of the Flow Country – the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe. Edinburgh-based Icosis positioned the structure on the edge More

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Top 10 Skywalks And Viewpoints

If the aim of architecture is to incorporate buildings into their surrounding area, then man-made constructions like skywalks and viewpoints take this concept to the next level by enabling visitors to experience natural surroundings in a more intimate …

Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter installs perforated observation tower in Aarhus harbour

Circular “peek holes” pierce the flanks of this observation tower by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter, to reference the portholes of ships and offer views over Aarhus harbour (+ slideshow). The Copenhagen-based studio designed The Salling Tower as a “dramatic urban sculpture” to provide a focal point and meeting place for visitors to the Danish city port. The white perforated steel structure has More

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Glass Skyslide to be added to exterior of California’s tallest skyscraper

A glass-enclosed “skyslide” is being added to the US Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles, offering thrill seekers the opportunity to glide down the building’s exterior. Called Skyslide, the glass chute will measure 14 metres in length and 1.2 metres in width, and will be installed approximately 304 metres above the ground below. The enclosure will be made More

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Carlo Ratti designs mile-high observation tower with a park on top

Italian architect Carlo Ratti has unveiled plans to build a mile-high observation tower, envisioned as a vertical alternative to New York’s Central Park. Measuring 1,609 metres high, the tower would be almost double the height of the world’s tallest building – the 828-metre-high Burj Khalifa. It would be covered in plants, and would feature a vertiginous viewing platform. “Imagine you take More

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Monadnock’s Abstract Tower features patterned walls of red and green brickwork

Rotterdam studio Monadnock used a variety of brickwork techniques to create the patterned facade of this viewing tower, designed to offer a new landmark for the small Dutch town of Nieuw-Bergen. Named Landmark Nieuw Bergen, but also known as the Abstract Tower, the building’s brick walls feature contrasting tones of red and green, as well as extruded elements, More

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“World’s first vertical cable car” to open on Brighton beach this summer

London Eye designer Marks Barfield Architects has reached the final stage in its construction of the UK’s highest observation tower outside the capital (+ slideshow). Billed as the world’s first vertical cable, the British Airways i360 is a slender tower featuring a glass viewing pod that will glide up and down to transport passengers to a height of 138 metres. More

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Wedge-shaped viewpoint by BTE Architecture overlooks Loch Lomond

This triangular structure by BTE Architecture provides an elevated viewing platform on the edge of Scotland’s Loch Lomond (+ slideshow). Architects Daniel Bär, Stéphane Toussaint, Sean Edwards of Glasgow and Oslo studio BTE Architecture won a competition to design The Pyramid Viewpoint as part of the Scottish Scenic Routes – a government-run initiative intended to spotlight the work of young practices More

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Fránek Architects’ mountainside Sky Walk loops up around a giant slide

A 101-metre slide winds down through this coiling structure by Fránek Architects, perched on a mountain in the Czech Republic (+ slideshow). The Sky Walk is situated 1,116 metres above sea level, at the top of a chair lift near the village of Dolni Morava. Brno-based Fránek Architects worked with Czech construction company Taros Nova to More

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Observation House by I/O Architects features gabion walls and a grassy viewing deck

An “elevated meadow” surrounds the glazed living space of this house in a Bulgarian village, which is raised above the fields on stone-filled cages to give it the appearance of an observation tower (+ slideshow). Architects Viara Jeliazkova, Georgi Katov, Stefan Apostolov from Sofia-based firm I/O Architects designed Observation House to take advantage of a hilltop plot in north-east Bulgaria. […]

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Museum dedicated to the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm has a stepped roof overlooking Kassel

This limestone-faced museum in the German city of Kassel by Kada Wittfeld Architektur houses the archives of famous literary duo the Brothers Grimm (+ slideshow). Grimmwelt Kassel (The Brothers Grimm Museum) is built on a sloping plot in Weinberg, a former vineyard near Kassel’s centre. The elevated site is strewn with fragments of stone retaining walls, steps, […]

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Noma Bar’s bird-shaped treehouse provides a vantage point over a Japanese woodland

Israeli illustrator Noma Bar has created a wooden pavilion shaped like a bird with a leafy back among the trees of a wood in central Japan (+ slideshow). Bar was commissioned by the Momofuku Ando cultural foundation – named after its founder, a 20th century inventor who was one of the creators of instant noodles – […]

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Snøhetta wins competition for cable car and Alpine viewing platform in Italy

Architecture firm Snøhetta has designed a pair of ring-shaped platforms linked by a cable car, which will offer expansive views of the Alps to residents and visitors in Bolzano, Italy. The cable car will scale the Virgolo cliff in the foothills of the Alps, reestablishing a link that was broken when the town’s previous cable […]

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Undulating viewing platform by John Lin and Olivier Ottevaere features built-in market stalls

This steeply slanted platform by architects John Lin and Olivier Ottervaere forms a roadside market and elevated viewing point for a Chinese town being rebuilt after two earthquakes (+ slideshow). Lin and Ottevaere, both professors at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), worked with the school’s first year architecture students to build the structure in Ludian, a town in China’s […]

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Treetop holiday home by Narein Perera stands between a rubber plantation and a jungle

Raised up by a framework of slender steel supports, this wooden holiday home offers a unique vantage point over a Sri Lankan rubber plantation and the jungle beyond (+ slideshow). Named Estate Bungalow, the building was designed by local architect Narein Perera to function as both a viewing platform over the client’s 17-hectare estate and a short-term […]

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between a rubber plantation and a jungle
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Cloud-shaped campsite designed to float among the trees of a Colorado valley

Tasked with designing a Colorado campsite with unique views, architect Kevin Hirth produced these dreamlike illustrations depicting a cloud-shaped viewing platform floating amongst the trees. The client – described by Denver-based Kevin Hirth as eccentric – requested a design that would provide overnight guests with an unprecedented vantage point over her extensive property, which is located […]

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the trees of a Colorado valley
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René van Zuuk creates a wavy pier with an integrated lightbox over an Almere lake

A huge lightbox is wedged underneath a wave-shaped viewing platform at the end of this pier, designed by Dutch architect René van Zuuk for a lake in the city of Almere (+ slideshow). The 200-metre-long pier was created by René van Zuuk Architekten for the Weerwater lake in Almere – a city that occupies a landmass across the water from Amsterdam. White, green and red lights were installed […]

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Twisting observation tower could be built in a northern Italian forest

Architects Anton Pramstrahler and Alex Niederkofler have unveiled their proposal for a wooden viewing tower near Bruneck, northern Italy, with a twisted body shaped like a tree trunk (+ movie). Pramstrahler and Niederkofler designed the 33-metre-high Lookout Tower in response to a competition inviting ideas for a new landmark for Bruneck, the town in the South Tyrol region of Italy. The proposed location […]

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be built in a northern Italian forest
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Angular seaside tower by Gruff and MSA contains a viewing platform that moves underfoot

When visitors step inside this viewing tower on the coastline of Lincolnshire, England, an inner chamber tilts forward so the nearby beach becomes visible through a pair of aligned horizontal slots (+ slideshow). The tower was developed by London architecture studios Gruff and MSA in response to a competition organised by Lincolnshire County Council and local arts […]

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a viewing platform that moves underfoot
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Supermachine Studio adds labyrinthine staircase to seaside park in Thailand

This concrete tower of interconnecting red staircases was designed by Thai firm Supermachine Studio for an elevated game of hide and seek (+ slideshow).  The Labyrinth was designed by Bangkok-based Supermachine Studio for a spot on the edge of a park near Bang Saen Beach, a coastal resort 60 miles east of the Thai capital. Related story: Mecanoo designs a pavilion with a […]
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High-altitude viewpoint perches over a volcanic crater lake

This wooden observation platform by architects Javier Mera, Jorge Andrade and Daniel Moreno sits high above a three-kilometre-wide lake inside an active volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes (+ slideshow). Mera, Andrade and Moreno designed the viewing deck for the edge of Quilotoa, a water-filled volcanic crater with a three-kilometre caldera that was formed after an eruption 800 years ago. […]
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Pombal Castle visitor centre offers a peek through a historic stone wall

Comoco Architects has added a third new structure to the grounds of the medieval Pombal Castle in Portugal – a smooth concrete visitor centre that doubles as a viewing platform (+ slideshow). The single-storey structure with a staircase forming one of its facades is the second commission that Coimbra-based Comoco Architects has had for the […]

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a peek through a historic stone wall
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Offshore torpedo base in Poland to be transformed by MFRMGR into a water sports hub

Warsaw office MFRMGR has revealed designs to revitalise a former Polish observation tower in the Baltic Sea to create a base for water sports enthusiasts and researchers, accessible only by boat. The lookout station formerly operated as a watch tower for a German research facility responsible for the development of torpedoes during the Second World […]

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by MFRMGR into a water sports hub
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