Extreme storms and torrential weather constantly move, shape and develop the dune landscape of the north west coast of Denmark. So much so, that in 1968 an enormous sand dune devoured Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse; leaving the solitary tower as the only remaining structure, poised precariously on the edge of the rapidly eroding cliff.
This Spring, the lighthouse was reopened with an expansive architectural installation that gives the public the last chance to enjoy the unique panoramas and dynamism of nature from the top of the lighthouse.
Staying true to its historic function, the newly improved lighthouse features a beacon for seafarers as well as a kaleidoscope that captures natural light and reflects it back out to sea. The project, completed by Bessards’ Studio and Jaja Architects, is centred around a scenographic stairway that gives access to the tower as well as an array of unique landscape and architectural experiences.
As well as producing ever-changing chasms of colour, the wind-powered kaleidoscope also acts as a key structural element that the sweeping staircase wraps itself around. The triangular shape of the kaleidoscope in combination with the transparency of stair case creates a playful interaction with the traditions the lighthouse, as it makes the vertical structure appear as if it is constantly stretching towards the sky.
The most impressive aspect of the entire design is the fact that the project is a variation on the properties of steel. Be it rusted, polished, raw, bent, perforated steel makes up the entirety of the monolithic lighthouse that will develop its own individual characteristics over the course of time. But of course, with the precarity of the landscape, the lighthouse won’t be around forever. As according to geological surveys, the lighthouse will be taken to sea within the next 2 to 15 years. So it pays to take a closer look at the lighthouse in the image gallery below…
Photography by Hampus Berndtson.