In autumn 2013, Dorte Mandrup architects won a competition to design a 7.5 m tall viewing tower for Aarhus harbour. The sharp edges in different angles have a very crisp architectural expression and the shape fits well into the industrial site context. Soren Jensen Engineers carried out the structural design, which included a parametric approach to explore different shape variations. The balance of the structure on the small foundation area and the hole distribution according to the stresses were included in this setup to inform the final design.
Soren Jensen decided to build a large scale model afterwards for the office in Copenhagen to showcase the project. The scale was chosen to 1:10 and built from MDF plates in order to preserve the slenderness, sharp edges and provide sufficient stiffness. The bespoke geometry was produced with in-house laser-cutting machinery based on drawings that were generated from the original 3D model (taking the thickness of the plates into account). Due to the different angles of the plates, the main challenge was to develop a method to obtain sharp edges at the intersections. This was resolved by generating engraving patterns along the plate boundaries in order to create bevelled edges. The engrave widths were informed by the intersections from the 3D solid model. The different parts were eventually glued together and spray painted white.