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A team from NOHNIK architecture and landscapes in collaboration with ABT Engineering has won the architect selection for the design of a new fire lookout tower on the Belgian nature reserve ‘Kalmthoutse Heide’. The new tower will be 42 meters high and will have a fire watch and various viewing platforms for tourists. The Kalmthoutse Heide is part of the Belgian-Dutch nature reserve Grenspark Kalmthoutse Heide. The strength of this area is the great diversity of landscapes and natural areas, the special history and the cultural-historical heritage. The new fire lookout tower will make a significant contribution to the protection of these values ​​and will also make the special qualities of the area easier to experience for recreational visitors and tourists. The current tower no longer meets all requirements and is also no longer high enough because the trees around it have grown too high. In addition, the new tower will offer a comfortable workplace for the fire watch.

The basis of the design is formed by a special steel frame construction that is made up out of several triangles. The framework is divided into equal segments, each 6 meters high. By rotating the segments in a regular manner of each other, a dynamic image is created which is related to the irregular way of growth of the trees in the area. The steel is given a green-gray coating with a natural look that suits this place.

Within the steel frame construction, the staircase and the various platforms form a wooden core that contrasts with the steel framework. The stairs are alternately oriented in all directions. This creates constantly changing views of the surroundings for the tourist and the natural beauty can be properly experienced. Spacious viewing platforms have been designed at a height of 12 meters and 24 meters. Safe parapets of vertical wooden slats have been designed for both the stairs and viewing platforms. At the top of the tower, the fire watch post can be found at a height of 30 meters. Above the fire watch there is room for the communication mast, which reaches a height of 42 meters.

Year: 2019-2021
Type: architecture
Client: municipality of Kalmthout, Agentschap Natuur en Bos, Telecomoperator Astrid
Size: 42m high
Status: preparing for construction