Thursday Salute to Originals: Clever Cantilevering
Cantilevers are bold statements of architecture. Typically jutting from the side of a building, the cantilever can be used as the defining stroke of a façade design. Rarely do we see this motif employed in a natural setting. But even more unusual is to see cantilevers serving as the entire built structure itself, and in a form that can be experienced both vertically AND horizontally.
When a wooden lookout post in Northern Belgium was destroyed in a vandalistic fire, a local engineering studio aimed to replace it with a timeless and robust monument. That monument – the Vlooyberg Tower – now stands in its place. But this isn’t just your average homage to a beloved predecessor. This monument is a cantilever bluntly protruding diagonally from the ground, and serves as the entire built structure (not just one defining piece of a larger building).
In addition to acting as a sculptural beacon, this cantilever can be climbed as a staircase and experienced from the inside. At the top of this dramatic staircase, visitors can peer out of peepholes for a bird’s eye view over the landscape. Though simplistic in form and scale, this unique cantilevering monument is the result of calculated engineering by the team at Close to Bone.
The skin of pre-rusted metal panels acts as a protective mechanism against vandalism and gives a nod towards the ironstone found in the region. Railings double as structural beams and dampers prevent vibration from unsettling the visitors. Impressively, the staircase was installed in only ½ of a day –those shop drawings must have been ridiculously detailed to achieve such efficiency!
For a deceptively simple engineering feat, we salute the engineers at Close to Bone. A bold form executed with clever fabrication methods has created a lasting legacy for the local community and architecture fans alike.