Completion Date: March 2016


Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse Transformation, Lønstrup, Denmark
JAJA & Bessards’ Studio

Ferocious pounding storms constantly move and shape the fantastic dune landscape on the northwest coast of Denmark. In 1968 an enormous sand dune devoured Rubjerg Knude Ligthouse leaving the tower as the only remaining structure, poised on the edge of the rapidly eroding cliff.

This spring the lighthouse was reopened and retrofitted with an architectural installation that give the public the last chance to enjoy the unique vistas and wild dynamic spectacle of nature, from the top of the lighthouse.

BESSARDs’ STUDIO and JAJA Architects designed a scenographic stairway giving access to the tower and making the ascent a sequence of architectural experiences. Staging its historic function as a beacon for the seafarers, they inserted a gigantic wind-powered kaleidoscope into the lighthouse that captures natural light and reflection, sending it inwards to create an ever-changing cascade of colors and glimpses of the sea and surrounding landscape. The kaleidoscope also functions as the structural element on which the stair wraps itself around. The triangular shape of the kaleidoscope in combination with the perforated and transparent stair create a playful interaction with the square geometry of the lighthouse, staging a unique experience of the vertical space, which stretches between earth and sky.

The project is a variation on the properties of one unique material: steel. Rusted, mirror polished, bent, perforated, welded and finally carefully assembled into a monolith inside the lighthouse. It provides a visual and tactile experience reacting to the extreme meteorological characteristics of the site that creates an aging process that gradually merges the kaleidoscope together with the historic lighthouse.

According to geological surveys, the lighthouse will be taken by the sea within the next 2 to 15 years. Nobody knows exactly when the tower will fall but when it will, the project will be entirely disassembled and – thanks to its constructive system – be remounted or recycled.

The revitalization of Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse is part of a nation-wide initiative of architectural interventions that seek to invite the public to experience the most unique and remarkable areas of the Danish landscape. Rubjerg Knude transformation was commissioned by Realdania Foundation, The Danish Nature Agency and Hjørring Municipality.

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