KAPKAR/TO-RXD by Frank Havermans


KAPKAR/ TO-RXD by Frank Havermans

Dutch architect Frank Havermans has built a sunken concrete pavilion by a stream in St. Oedenrode, the Netherlands.

KAPKAR/ TO-RXD by Frank Havermans

The KAPKAR/TO-RXD landscape observatory is built into a bank and made of concrete cast in bark.

KAPKAR/ TO-RXD by Frank Havermans

The pavilion is entered by a ramp that takes you into a space containing two benches.

KAPKAR/ TO-RXD by Frank Havermans

A second ramp takes you further down into an small enclosed space with slit that looks out onto the stream.

KAPKAR/ TO-RXD by Frank Havermans

Above photograph is by Frank Havermans.

KAPKAR/ TO-RXD by Frank Havermans

Photographs are by René de Wit unless otherwise stated.

Here's some more from the architect:

KAPKAR/ TO-RXD St. Oedenrode, The Netherlands

In the gently rolling Brabant landscape just to the west of Sint-Oedenrode lies the hamlet of Rijsingen. Close by, at a spot where the Dommel River has cut through the sandy soil since time immemorial, stands the KAPKAR/TO-RXD landscape observatory. It forms part of a hiking trail that starts in the village centre and leads into the farmland around the settlement.

The KAPKAR/TO-RXD observatory is a small concrete structure, much of which is under the ground. From a distance it resembles an agricultural shed or an old bunker. It also has the air of a snapped off, hollow tree, standing in the landscape like a congealed statue. As you approach the structure, however, it becomes clear that this is an artefact. Its function has yet to be ascertained. It is a small, clear accent in the landscape, beneath the sheltering branches of two sizeable trees. Unconsciously you are drawn to it. Not until you are very close does it prove larger than you initially thought.

KAPKAR/ TO-RXD by Frank Havermans

Like the trees, its hook form stands on the bank of the Dommel; it is fixed to the ground by two large concrete roots. The concrete skin is rough. Up close the structure does not appear very high. There is an entrance to one side. Going inside down a ramp lowers your field of vision. The usual custom with observatories is to raise the line of vision, to obtain a panoramic view. My intention with this design, however, was to raise awareness of what is close at hand. To give visitors a prospect of the field with their nose at the level of the plants that grow and the small animals that live there. You don’t see less but actually more of the landscape – the buildings disappear behind the plant growth.

The structure contains two concrete benches, from which you can peacefully absorb the landscape. There are many geese, plus swans and pheasants, lapwings and raptors. Deer sometimes appear and a hare regularly hurtles past. A second ramp takes you further down beneath the roof, to stand in a hollow. Here you can shelter briefly from the sun or the rain. A slit in the structure lets you see the river, flowing rapidly past beneath you.

The skin of the concrete is coarse and rough like the nearby trees. A feature of this is the bark, left behind in the concrete after the formwork was removed. It gives the concrete a natural appearance. Over time it will rot away. Once this has happened, however, the concrete will have had time to form its own patina in harmony with the landscape. (text: Frank Havermans)


landscape observatory
St. Oedenrode, The Netherlands
2009 > in use and visible: August 2010
materials: concrete, tree bark
size: 700 cm x 425 cm x 312 cm

See also:


by Baumhauer
Trail House
by Anne Holtrop
Pestalozzi School

Posted on Friday August 6th 2010 at 12:22 am by Joe Mills. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • LOW

    Looks like it could be part of the Ligne Maginot, I absolutely love that texture

  • edward

    Nice. Much more successful at integrating into the landscape than the one recently posted.

  • ste

    amazing! love the texture and the surface… little big work! makes a very intimate space and has this certain feel to it!

  • Felix

    the texture is lovely, but would it have ruined the design to make the inside slightly more comfortable? That guy in his coat looks OK but if I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt I don't think I'd want to sit there,

  • I really like this. I'm glad that the bunker reference was made as my first thought was Siegfried line, kind of like the Ligne Maginot I guess . I like all the aspects of this structure, from the materials to the sanctuary-esque feeling of the space. Thanks

  • Dan

    This will be where I make my last stand when the zombie apocalypse comes

  • Sjors

    Nice little project, I have my reservations about the inside though. The texture gives it too much of an aggressive and alien atmosphere in my opinion.

  • Jaime

    Genious! To think of being there with my nose and the ground on the same height, and the feeling of being surrounded by a man-made structure that does nothing but reinforce the strenght of the landscape, amazing.

  • Richie

    It's a beautiful sculptural piece, but I don't see it as being an especially inviting place to sit!

  • I have to agree with Richie. Sculptural beauty and an intriguing shape, but it doesn't seem very inviting. The interior image of the slit/window looks like a war bunker to me.

  • WDP

    Think I saw this in a Terry Gilliam animation during an old Python episode.

  • archiperson

    this reminds me of a snake about to attack, which is not very inviting. some rounded corners might have helped soften it up, but perhaps that's beside the point. the concept of a "landscape observatory", to begin with, seems a little contrived to me, since one can observe the landscape shown without a structure just fine. they've basically built an obstacle in the landscape they are trying to honor. i think the charm of bunkers in such idyllic landscapes is their historical purpose in war being reclaimed for new uses, but constructing a "neo-bunker" for the sole purpose of observing a landscape feels, like i said, contrived.

    still, not to be a complete hater, i like that it's made of bark and will likely have plants growing off of it fairly soon.

  • bayan

    Much more successful

  • Fizz

    Oh Lord, please don't tell me that in three years time it will be covered in graffiti, contain a heap of empty crisp and fag packets, with the odd used Durex peeking out and a distinct whiff of stale urine in the air. Er -isn't that what usually happens to any public utility built of concrete… no matter where it is? Ah – sorry – forgot it's in the Netherlands, not England.

  • Ana

    It looks ancient and modern. Reminds me of the stones in Machu Pichu.
    It's beautiful.