Istanbul-based design studio SUPERSPACE has proposed a new landmark for Croatia’s capital of Zagreb that combines an architecturally striking observation tower with a vertical forest in the heart of the city. Dubbed Ascension, the timber structure would serve as a “new gate” between the historic parts of the city and the post-war areas. If built, the tower would be the 10th tallest building in all of Zagreb and one of the tallest wooden structures in Europe.

tall, pointy wood tower covered in trees

Proposed for the heart of Zagreb, the Ascension tower is optimally positioned to take in views of the natural landscape, from the south bank of the Sava river to the forests of Medvednica Mountain. The tower location also marks the split between the old and the new parts of the city, from which the architects drew design inspiration. The history of Zagreb dates as far back as 1094 A.D. and much of the city prior to the 20th century was developed north of the Sava river. After World War II, a construction boom that took place south of the Sava river resulted in a modern development now called Novi Zagreb (“New Zagreb”).

Related: Foster + Partners designs solar-powered Tulip observation tower for London

rendering of people climbing wood observation tower

“As the Novi Zagreb is the future and modern face of Zagreb, Ascension represents and empowers the connection with the past and future; nature and man-made; old and new; as though the ground ascended to the sky and created this void, to engage this dialogue with a strong flow and visual relation,” the designers explained in a press statement. “As a connecting and reflective feature of the old and the new city, Ascension greets the landmarks of the downtown with respect and claims a unique form with analogical proportions.”

aerial rendering of balconies on a wood observation tower

The Ascension tower features three main parts: a white and convex outer “shell” that symbolizes the revitalization of the new city; a timber-lined inner “shell” that symbolizes the identity of the old city; and a vertical forest of trees planted on multiple levels of the high-rise to create a visual link to Zagreb’s forested landscape. Viewing platforms are located on different heights of the tower to overlook select vistas including the Sava river, the city and the mountains.

+ SUPERSPACE

Images via SUPERSPACE

rendering of people looking out at a city from an observational deck