Dezeen Magazine

KAPKAR / BB-N34 by Frank Havermans

This bright red tower resembling the head and neck of a monster was constructed by Dutch designer Frank Havermans as the beacon for a fire station in a small Dutch town.

KAPKAR/BB-N34 by Frank Havermans
Above and top: photography is by Rene de Wit

With a height of almost five metres, the kinked steel tower stands on a grassy mound outside the fire station in Borger and was designed by Frank Havermans to draw attention to the building - a glass structure by Dutch studio AAS Architects at on a road junction outside the town centre.

KAPKAR/BB-N34 by Frank Havermans

"KAPKAR/BB-N34 is a kind of an alien appearance," said the designer. "It attracts people's attention but also raises questions."

KAPKAR/BB-N34 by Frank Havermans

The body of the tower is painted red to match the colours of the fire engines, plus a large red light is housed inside the upper section and glows out towards the road.

"I designed a fire lamp that functions as a watchful eye in front of the building, close to the roads and roundabout," said Havermans.

KAPKAR/BB-N34 by Frank Havermans

Metal sheet and tubes give the structure a machine-like aesthetic, intended to reference the equipment used by the fire fighters.

Frank Havermans runs an architecture, design and art studio in the Netherlands. Past projects include a sunken concrete pavilion that was cast against tree bark.

KAPKAR/BB-N34 by Frank Havermans

Other monstrous structures to feature on Dezeen include public toilets shaped like headless dinosaurs and a robotic octopus.

Here's more information from Studio Frank Havermans:

KAPKAR/ BB-N34 beacon

The fire department of the town of Borger since several years dwells in a new fire station, which is strategically replaced from the centre of the village to a location at the crossroads of the local highways N34 and N374. Here the right direction to the calamity can be chosen efficiently. The new building (AAS Architects) is an elementary box, which is organised in a simple and efficient way. The service entrances are places at the lower level at a walled courtyard. All service spaces are placed below ground level. Through this all the attention is placed to the nice fire engines that are exposed on the higher level in a kind of window box. The building also has something anonymous and because it is a volunteer fire department there is not much human activity. And if there is activity it most of the times happens out of sight at the walled courtyard. From the "so called' landmark function building in my vision is no question, and that is not really necessary as well, it is a modest fire station in a small village. But it can use some extra attention that mark the fire station and the people who are volunteering. The firemen also desire that and asked clearly for that. For this I designed a fire lamp that functions as a watchful eye in front of the building close to the roads and roundabout. KAPKAR/ BB-N34 is a kind of an alien appearance that is placed on a two metre-high ellipse shaped hill. It attracts people attention but also raises questions. From all sides on the provincial highway you can see it clearly. It does not look like something familiar and on the other hand is fits to its surrounding in a naturally way. It looks like the fire department purchased a new instrument. What's the function of this new device? These questions rise when people pass the station.

KAPKAR/BB-N34 by Frank Havermans
Site plan - click for larger image

The construction looks technical and alien at the same time. It is almost five metres high and consists of a kinked metal construction that functions as a stand that hold a large disk shape lamp. The whole targets at the roundabout. It strikes by its expressive appearance and by its red light plane that attracts the attention. The construction self is made of metal sheets and tubes which are painted fire red, the official fire department colour. The construction refers to the equipment used by the corps without pointing it out directly. The lamp itself is constantly radiating a red light through the visor. As a 24/7 watchful eye the lamp points out that there is a system of always alert people in the community even if they are not present and visible in the fire department itself. It shows the community that something is about to happen, is happening or has happened the last hours. Even when the firemen are back and everything is quite again, the watchful eye reminds the community of the local hero's who take care of all the fires and other calamities.

Location: Fire department Borger-Odoorn, Borger (The Netherlands)
Address: Poolse Bevrijderslaan 100, Borger
Manufactured by: Frank Havermans and Koos Schaart
Involved companies: Koos Schaart production, George Hoekstra engineering
Commissioned by: CBK Drenthe, Monica Boekholt and the municipality of Borger-Odoorn
Fire Department building by: AAS Architecten, Groningen