The four towers represent three animals – a fox, bear and sheep – as well as a miner, which are all characters from the Rokytnice coat of arms and based on the names of the four Czech villages that were combined to form the town.
The Guard Patrol lookouts, which are accessible via a hiking trail, are located on the Stráž mountain and designed by Mjölk Architekti to let people appreciate the surroundings.
They were commissioned by the municipality of Rokytnice nad Jizerou and give better access to areas that were previously difficult to reach.
“Part of the philosophy of this and other similar projects was to draw people to less frequented places like this and away from the over-touristed areas of mountains,” Mjölk Architekti senior architect Tobiáš Hrabec told Dezeen.
“Since the completion, it has become a more frequented place by both visitors and locals,” he added. “Several wedding ceremonies already took place at the lookouts as well.”
The first of the lookouts is The Fox, which measures 17 square metres. It sits on a cliff overlooking Rokytnice and has a long body with a “tail” that sticks out into the valley.
It also has a smaller viewpoint next to it, known as The Cub.
The Fox is followed by The Bear, which can be found in the woods nearby. The 14-square-metre viewpoint has a square body on four leg-like pillars, depicting a bear midstride.
Further along the trail sits the nine-square-metre platform called The Sheep, which also has four legs but seems to be standing still, overlooking the forest.
After seeing The Sheep, visitors need to cross a footbridge to reach The Miner.
This measures 10 square metres and is the tallest of the lookouts at nine metres high. It also sits 782 metres above sea level, which is the highest altitude of all the structures.
As well as creating better views for walkers, the project also nods to historical buildings in the area. The Stráž mountain was one of the places where invasions by enemy armies were signalled from lookout towers to warn people.
“(A) more philosophical point is to ‘inhabit’ the landscape with objects and thus make it more coherent, joining in with the long tradition of building lookout towers in the Jizera and Krkonoše mountains which goes back to the nineteenth century,” Hrabec said.
“Finally, the reference to the town’s heraldry and history aims to strengthen the local identity of the local municipality and its citizens.”
The locations of The Guard Patrol lookouts, which have steel structures with oak cladding, were mostly inaccessible by car or heavy machinery.
To solve this logistical issue, Mjölk Architekti designed the four towers to be built from smaller parts that could be carried from the nearest road.
The steel structures are placed into the rocks using special steel anchors and sit in drill holes that are up to eight metres deep.
“The terrain at the site was a bit of a challenge,” Hrabec said.
“The contractor was a company, STRIX Chomutov, that specializes in working in complicated terrain such as stabilizations of rocky slopes, and their professional approach was absolutely essential.”
Mjölk Architekti has previously designed another lookout, the Cucumber Tower, for a rural site along a Czech mountain range called the Ještěd-Kozákov Ridge.
The studio also recently added a “glittering glass extension” to a wooden cabin.
The photography is by Boys Play Nice.
Architecture: Mjölk Architekti and Pavlína Müllerová
General contractor: Strix
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