A BIG Designed Watch Tower in Denmark

The 25-meter-high Marsk Tower, a sculptural landmark and lookout point in Southern Jutland, Denmark, was opened to the public and is touted to be the new gathering place in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wadden Sea National Park.

The 25-meter-high Marsk Tower – translated as “Marsh Tower” due to its location in the marshlands of Denmark’s popular National Park, Wadden Sea – offers expansive views of the natural environment. Appearing as a sculptural art object rising out of the landscape, Marsk Tower will function as an observation lookout that facilitates community as a key tourist landmark. Designed as a wheelchair-accessible tower, with an elevator located in the core of the tower that provides access via the ground level ramp. The tower’s simple design, defined by Corten steel materiality, exudes a natural aesthetic that blends with the surrounding environment while simultaneously becoming a new, visible destination in Denmark.

The sculptural work of architecture will stand as the result of a joint local ambition to create a place where visitors can experience the natural beauty of the region. The Marsk watchtower while being a work of sculpture or an art object in the landscape, the observation tower invites visitors to explore its spiralling, stepped surface. The tower is inspired by a strand of human DNA and is divided between two separate staircases — one for walking upstairs and one for walking downstairs. although separate, both give visitors sweeping and transforming views across the distant surroundings.

“Marsk tower is a testament to our two-decades-long friendship and collaboration with the blacksmiths of Schacks Trapper,” says Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group. “The double helix provides two stairs and an elevator with a single stack of rotating steel steps, allowing visitors to ascend and descend in a single spiraling loop from the sand to the sky – connecting the marshland to the Wadden Sea.”

BIG worked on the design for the observation tower as part of a local partnership with Marsk Camp Group to create an experiential destination that presents the unique landscape from a new perspective to tourists all over the world. Wadden Sea National Park is one of the last remaining large-scale intertidal ecosystems in the world and is widely known for its unique natural environment of sea, dune, woods, heaths, fauna, and wildlife.

 “Our ambition is to elevate Southern Jutland’s tourism experience to a new level and present this unique landscape from a new perspective to tourists from all over the world. Marsk Tower affirms this goal, celebrating the contextuality of Wadden Sea National Park’s unique landscape and the Wadden Sea as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike,” explains Jørgen Hansen, Marsk Camp.

“Because of the earth’s curvature, visitors will gradually expand their view of the horizon while walking to the top of the tower. On the foot of the tower, you will be able to see 4 km into the distance, but from the top of the tower the view is expanded to an 18 km view into the horizon,” says Jakob Lange, Architect and Partner, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group. “The stairs widen at the top of the tower, creating a 110 meter-squared lookout spot with views stretching to city of Esbjerg, the Islands Rømø and Sylt, and beyond the Wadden Sea to the North Sea.”

Together with the nearby wind turbines, the tower’s height of 36-meters above sea level will make it a visual landmark in the region.

The 12-hectare area around Southern Jutland’s new landmark, in addition to the 25-meter-high lookout tower, will comprise Marsk Camp, a tourist destination that includes restaurants, a mini-golf course, glamping tents, an icehouse, and accommodations for up to 126 motorhomes, with room to expand.

Marsk Tower is just one of BIG’s many recent Denmark-based projects that allow architecture to facilitate a relationship between visitors and the natural world.


Name: Marsk Tower

Type: Commercial

Size: 25m high

Location: Hjemsted, Denmark

Collaborators: Schacks Trapper (Construction); AFRY (Structural Engineer)


Partner-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Jakob Lange

Project Leader: Tobias Hjortdal

Project Team: Matilda Blomgren, Annette Jensen, Erik Kreider, Joshua Woo, Federico Martinez De Sola, Stefan Plugaru also working on the Lycium – a museum dedicated to the nature of Fanø and the Wadden Sea.

Photography by Rasmus Hjortsho