Nature has always held an abiding allure for people, offering many marvels that we strive to comprehend and conquer, or simply ponder and peruse. With intelligent thought, design and technology, engineers and architects have surmounted numerous challenges in order to provide new perspectives on nature. Viewpoints and vantage points are especially attractive design propositions. Those with unusual forms and gravity defying angles capture our imagination, affording countless pleasing views of nature’s magnificent bounty.
The recent solar eclipse—a total eclipse visible within a band across the United States on 21 August 2017—was a reminder of our desire to view and observe the power of nature. The following physical viewpoints each give viewers a chance too interact with nature in different ways.
Offering a majestic vista, Aurland Lookout is an architectural marvel. Located in Aurland, Norway—a country crammed with spectacular fjords, lush forests and great mountains—the lookout was designed by Bergen-based
Completed in 2006, Aurland Lookout is referred to by the architect as ‘a walkway into the void’ and a ‘piece of architectural theater.’ The lookout measures thirty metres in length, and a 1.2-metre-high glass balustrade protects visitors from a sheer, vertical drop. Beyond this transparent barrier, the view of the fjord and mountains is breathtaking.
Photos by Bent René Synnevåg, Nils Vik. Courtesy of Saunders Architecture.
Devil’s Corner was designed in 2015 by Australian architectural practice
Photos by Tanja Milbourne © Cumulus Studio.
Grand Canyon Skywalk
The horseshoe-shaped Grand Canyon Skywalk is a see-through, cantilevered bridge. Jutting out seventy feet from a side canyon in Grand Canyon West, the Skywalk is elevated at a dizzying 4,000 feet above the Colorado River. Designed and engineered by Lochsa Engineering & MRJ Architects, the Skywalk was commissioned by the Hualapai Indian Tribe who manage it as a way to accrue money from tourism.
This viewing platform by Austrian architect
Photos by Peter Landers Photography © Cooke Fawcett Ltd.
Another Norwegian lookout,
The Seljord municipality is often visited by tourists, locals and avid bird-watchers. The twelve-metre-high tower has a periscope-like appearance and three lookout points: one at the tower’s apex, looking across Seljord lake, and two en route to the top.
Stokke Forest Stair
Also designed by Saunders Architecture, Stokke Forest Stair in Øye Sculpture Park, Norway, was completed in 2012. A clever woodland installation, the stairway provides the visitor with an elevated vantage point above the forest’s floor. The Stokke Forest Stair was transported by helicopter, and a careful analysis of the site meant no trees were felled in order to accommodate the structure.
Photos courtesy of Saunders Architecture.
Tower at the Mur River
This observation tower rises above the river Mur at the Austrian border with Slovenia. Completed in 2009, it was designed by Munich-based architectural practice
Photos courtesy of terrain.
It would appear that Norway is a country with many vantage points. Utsikten—or ‘the view’—was designed by Oslo-based Code Arkitektur. The rather quirky triangular viewing platform perches at the top of Gaular mountain on Norway’s western coast. With its raised corners, Utsikten affords three different viewpoints.
Photos by by Jiri Havran via