The observation tower is the result of a study into the optimal application of Ultra High Performance Concrete by a case study team comprising of UNStudio, ABT, BAM Utiliteitsbouw en Haitsma Beton.

The design for the observation tower is the result of a case study which aimed to apply the characteristics of Ultra High Performance Concrete in a functional, operative design. The case study team consisted of designers, engineers and builders who together sought a solution through which architecture and construction could reinforce one another. According to Ben van Berkel, “The observation tower afforded our Inventive Materials Research Platform the opportunity to investigate the properties of Ultra High Performance Concrete and to truly test out the full potential of this new material in a real structure.” Ultra High performance Concrete differs from normal concrete as it has a very high density, contains steel fibres and has an extremely fine grain structure. These properties facilitate the application of large compressive stresses in structures of narrow dimensions. UNStudio’s Inventive Materials Platform is one of four in-house research platforms and aims to investigate custom-made material applications and to facilitate inspired and imaginative collaborations with other experts and with manufacturers in the construction industry.

The 25 metre high observation tower will be realised on the forested boundary of ‘De Onlanden’ nature reserve on the outskirts of Groningen. Once built, the tower will extend 5 metres above the trees and will offer views over the 3,000 hectares of natural landscape which form the largest water storage area in the Netherlands.

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