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RO&AD : Pompejus

Although the city of Bergen Op Zoom (Netherlands) no longer fears attacks by invaders, it still remains surrounded by an impressive line of defense dating back to the 17th century. A series of fortresses recently restored, including the Pompejus tower, former control enclosure that now offers a wide view of the entire Barbant region.

Named the "West Brabantse Water Defense Line", the fortification was built in 1627 to protect the states of Zeeland and South Holland from French and Spanish assaults. The Pompejus tower, described as a tribute to the first commander of the ensemble, Pompejus de Roovere, consisted of an oblique construction pointed towards the opponent which allowed to warn the defense in case of attack. If the original construction has now disappeared, the Dutch agency RO & AD gives it a second wind with a new set of 25 meters high covered with wood including an information point, an exhibition space, an outdoor theater in the lower part and an observatory offering visitors a breathtaking panorama of the agricultural region - after having climbed 129 steps ...

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Echoing the inclination of the old structure, the architects imagine a substitute leaning but more airy than what was once a solid stone fort. The result: a steel tower covered with Accoya® wood slats, whose facade is made according to the Voronoi diagram, breaking down a plan into cells, creating a paving pattern. A complex concept with a striking visual effect.

An impressive project that brings new life to an obsolete military zone.

To learn more, visit the RO & AD website

Photographs: Katja Effting

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