Ten impressive architectural viewpoints designed to stand out

Viewpoints roundup

Architectural viewpoints have been in the news lately with the opening of BIG’s helical Marsk Tower and controversy surrounding MVRDV’s Marble Arch Mound and Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel. Here are 10 impressive lookouts from Dezeen’s archive.


Vlooyberg Tower by Close to Bone

Engineering studio Close to Bone created an 11.5-metre-high cantilevered staircase as a unique viewpoint in Flanders, Belgium.

Named Vlooyberg Tower, the free observation tower was constructed from orange weathering steel to avoid acts of arson, which destroyed the wooden tower that formerly sat on the site.

However, in 2018 the gravity-defying structure was severely damaged in an apparent explosion. The structure was repaired and reopened later that year.

Find out more about Vlooyberg Tower


Forest Tower by EFFEKT

Forest Tower at Camp Adventure by EFFEKT

The helical Forest Tower at Camp Adventure, Denmark’s largest climbing camp, was designed by Danish architecture studio EFFEKT.

Hourglass in shape, the weathering steel viewpoint, which costs 150 kr (€20) to climb, allows visitors to walk amongst the treetops by ascending a spiralling ramp that curves 45 metres above the ground.

Find out more about Forest Tower ›


Marsk Watchtower by BIG

Marsk Tower by BIG

Designed with a double helix structure informed by DNA, Marsk Tower by architecture studio BIG recently been completed at the Wadden Sea National Park in Denmark.

The Corten steel tower, which costs 90 kr (€12) to climb has views of surrounding UNESCO World Heritage-listed marshland.

Find out more about Marsk Tower ›


Marble Arch Mound in London

Marble Arch Mound by MVRDV

Dutch studio MVRDV recently unveiled a controversial artificial hill next to London’s Marble Arch.

Built to encourage visitors back to the Oxford Street shopping district as coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the Marble Arch Mound features grassy turf and trees that cover its scaffolding structure.

The viewpoint was heavily criticised when it opened due to its unfinished appearance leading to the council making the attraction free to climb during August. Following costs spiralled from £3.3 million to £6 million, the deputy leader of Westminster City Council, which commissioned the structure, resigned.

Find out more about Marble Arch Mound ›


Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick in Manhattan

Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick

At 16 storeys, Vessel is a honeycomb-shaped visitor attraction composed of 154 staircases that meet at 80 platforms.

Designed by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the tower at the Hudson Yards development in New York was informed by the design of ancient Indian stepwells.

The viewpoint opened in 2019 but was forced to closed in January this year after a third person committed suicide by jumping from it. Despite being reopened with a buddy system, a fourth person committed suicide by jumping from the structure in July leading to the attraction closing indefinitely.

Find out more about Vessel ›


Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame by Fernando Donis

Dubai Frame is a pair of 150-metre-tall towers linked by a 93-metre-wide bridge to create a structure that resembles a giant photo frame towering above Za’abeel Park in Dubai.

Designed by Rotterdam-based architect Fernando Donis, the AED 50 ($13.6) attraction was controversial as its designer sued the Dubai Municipality and ThyssenKrupp elevator company.

Although he received a $100,000 prize for winning the competition to design the structure, he claimed the organisations altered the design and he did not receive a contract nor compensation for his design.

Find out more about Dubai Frame ›


Corsican Deer Observatories

Corsican Deer Observatories by Orma Architettura

Three matching wooden viewpoints were built by French studio Orma Architettura for people to observe native red deer on the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean.

Constructed by local artisans, the free-to-climb Corsican Deer Observatories are wooden rectilinear structures with slatted walls designed to prevent deer from seeing people inside the viewpoints. Each of the three structures are intended to resemble tree trunks, but are adapted to their specific locations within the park.

Find out more about Corsican Deer Observatories ›


The Viewing Dyke viewpoint

An Ode to Manmade Land by Vector-I Architects

Vector-I Architects and local artist Lambert Kamps designed a timber installation on an artificial dyke in the Netherlands’ Lauwersmeer National Park to offer views across the landscape and “provide new perspectives on rising sea levels”.

Named the Viewing Dyke, the viewpoint features a seven-metre-high wooden staircase that gives visitors a view of their surroundings.

Find out more about An Ode to Manmade Land ›


Ötzi Peak 3251m by Network of Architecture

Ötzi Peak 3251m by Network of Architecture

Designed as a remote tourist attraction built for guests of the nearby Hotel Grawand and other passersby, Ötzi Peak 3251m is a curved viewpoint made from weathering steel that sits at the peak of Schnals Valley Glacier ridge in Italy.

Italian studio Network of Architecture designed the free observation deck to only touch the earth where structurally necessary in order to give visitors the sensation of being suspended above the mountains.

Find out more about Ötzi Peak 3251m ›


The viewing platform is by Snohetta

Perspektivenweg viewpoint by Snøhetta

Architecture studio Snøhetta added the cantilevered Perspektivenweg viewing platform to a walking trail in the Austrian Alps. It is one of 10 architectural elements that the firm designed for Nordkette mountain range trail.

The free observation deck was designed to “grow out of the terrain,” and features a metal grate floor that allows visitors to observe the earth under their feet as well as the scenery on the horizon.

Find out more about Perspektivenweg 

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