The Fourth Wall – Seekopf Lookout Tower

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The Seekopf and the Hirschwand belong to the World Heritage Trail and together form a popular excursion destination that is highly rated by hikers. A lookout tower affords a phenomenal 360-degree view. The prior existing tower was already over 25 years old and was showing signs of rotting, so it had to be demolished for safety reasons. The association "Jankerlklub Rossatz" and the market municipality of Rossatz-Arnsdorf worked on the construction of a new tower in order to continue being able to offer the rewarding view of the Wachau.

The desire was to create something innovative and architecturally challenging at the location which fits harmoniously into the natural and cultural landscape while still generating excitement. This intention was achieved by means of a competition in cooperation with Art in the Public Space Lower Austria, whereby this purpose-built structure took not only formal but also artistic considerations into account. The winning project "The Fourth Wall" was created by the two architects Eldine Heep and Klemens Schillinger.

To guarantee the view, a steel framework (LEADER funded) with a wood façade (funded by Art in the Public Space Lower Austria) of 15 metres in height was erected. The ascent is via steps behind the clad wall. The serpentine motion and the lengthening of the route reduce the gradient and also offer a more accessible pathway, which gradually reveals the view of the landscape in procession along the wall. Overcoming the height becomes an experience – the curiosity about what lies behind the wall increases step by step.

The goal is both the retention of the popular excursion destination and rest area of the "Seekopfwarte" (Seekopf Lookout Tower) along the World Heritage Trail in the Wachau and to highlight how a purpose-built tourist structure can be responsibly constructed in the Wachau World Heritage Site with great sensitivity for the landscape.

Discussed in the project selection committee: 15.10.2019
Project promoter: Marktgemeinde Rossatz-Arnsdorf
Funding level: 70 %
Project duration: 22.10.2019-31.12.2020
Supported by the federal province and the European Union (LEADER).