A spectacular new sight has risen in Belgium’s “fairytale” Kabouterbos forest. Belgium engineering firm Close to Bone recently completed the Vlooyberg Tower, an eye-catching cantilevered structure that’s part land art, and part observation tower. The prefabricated staircase was carefully designed to achieve its gravity-defying appearance, and is clad in handsome weathering steel to ensure longevity.
Located in the Flemish Brabant municipality of Tielt-Winge, the Vlooyberg Tower was built to replace and commemorate the historic Tielt stairway tower, a wooden four-meter-tall lookout that formerly stood on the site until it was irreparably damaged by arsonists. The tower had long been considered a point of pride for the region; after the municipality decided to replace the lost tower with a functional monument, all agreed it would have to be able to withstand the elements and vandalism. Consequently, Close to Bone chose to clad the new tower in sturdy weathered steel with a red-brown hue that references the color of ironstone in the Hageland region.
The minimally decorated, steel-clad Vlooyberg Tower stands 11.28 meters in height and is built on a galvanized substructure. The designer describes the design process of the tower as “a war against its own weight” that involved meticulous calculations to ensure that the staircase, which weighs no less than 13 tons, would not sag. The Vlooyber Tower was prefabricated offsite and then assembled onsite in just half a day. “As a landmark with strong iconic value, the Vlooyberg Tower literally and figuratively raises the profile of the beautiful region around Tielt-Winge,” writes the firm. “Natives of Tielt, chance passers-by and fans of modern architecture all greatly enjoy this intriguing monument.”
Images via Close to Bone