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London, United Kingdom

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Gruff - The Wind Tower


The Wind Tower is a new sound landmark: a device that on one level focuses and concentrates people’s senses and on the other hand amplifies the climatic (windy) nature of the site. The intervention forces people to the edge – to make a commitment.

Photographs by

Rhys Cannon and Matthew Springett









The resulting experience is one of life-affirming engagement with the unique, changing and volatile environment.

The proposal is sited on a Lincolnshire beach at the literal edge of the land (the manmade marram grass bank and structures that form the interface between land and sea), integrated with sea defences to the southern side of the pedestrian entrance to the beach, with a direct interface with these defences. Circulation to the tower echoes existing circulation over the break-wall.

As an attractive, intriguing point of reference, the tower will entice visitors to approach and physically commit them to an engagement with the edge: making a “leap of faith,” taking them to a new position and giving them a new perspective on the site, both in terms of the view and the amplified experience of the wind.

The user is drawn to the viewing tower, approaching via several steps (or an accessible ramp, should wheelchair access be required by the Authority). During the approach, there is no visible connection to the sea. There is a very slight 1:20 incline as you enter the viewing area, with a faint light at the end. The platform slowly lowers as you step inside, revealing a focused ‘strip’ of seascape. The tilting floor encourages you towards the edge, giving a direct view of the sea and shore and specifically the wind farm out to sea. By drawing the viewer forward, air paths within the structure are opened, forcing an amplified rush of air over the viewer’s face and body, amplifying a direct physical relationship with the environment and creating the wind’s own sound patterns.

This process causes a resonant deep sound as the inner and outer frame meet. It marks the point of the viewer’s commitment, and also acts as a point of notification to others in the surrounding landscape.

Undertaken in partnership with MSA Ltd.