A viewing tower resembling a giant whistle redefines the meeting of land, sea and air on the Lincolnshire coast
The perennial theme of the lookout tower is given a twist in this project, developed as part of a series of landmark structures along the Lincolnshire coast to encourage greater public use of the beach and enhance connections with a unique ecology. It explores the nature of the site’s extreme environment at the point at which land, sea and air interact in a shifting and ever-changing marine landscape.
Resembling a giant whistle, the viewing tower amplifies the wind on site and makes visual connections to critical parts of the landscape − the shifting sands, tideline and an emergent offshore wind farm. By elevating the viewer within this flat landscape, controlling what they see and sense, a new relationship with the site is created. According to the architects, the project was inspired by childhood memories of leaning into the wind on the beach and trusting in its force to sustain you.
Visitors approach the angular, sky-blue tower to discover an internal yellow vessel with no view. As you enter, the entire interior chamber lowers to engage a controlled perspective of the distant horizon through a narrow slot. This is accompanied by the resonant sound of a striking gong that announces to those on the beach the tower is occupied, thereby encouraging further use. Lowering the chamber also engages a wind channelling function that allows the tower to act as a wind funnel, enhancing the natural site conditions. The simple painted steel structure was prefabricated and erected on the site at the point where the dune landscape meets the beach.
Architect: MSA Gruff (Matthew Springett and Rhys Cannon
Photographs: Courtesy of the architect