KAPKAR / TO-RXD | Landscape Observatory 2009-2020

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.

 

year: 2009
location: Sint Oedenrode, The Netherlands
client: Art Foundation Sint Oedenrode, SKOR, BKKC
manufacturing: Studio Frank Havermans + Gevers Bouwwerkzaamheden Sint Oedenrode
structural engineering: Frans van Herwijnen, ABT
video: JiaoJiao Li
© photography René de Wit, Breda

longlist: Condé Nest Traveller 2009

PUBLICATIONS

C3

Kofferen 60 Sint Oedenrode, park left behind the headquarters of Ahrend, walking track starts there. Satellite coordinates: 51.562744, 5.441162

 

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.

©StudioFrankHavermans_torxd_observatory_model-2008

Landscape Observatory final model 2008, © photo René de Wit

1. Studio Frank Havermans KAPKAR TO-RXD model

Landscape Observatory invironment model 2008,

testing different nature skins

8©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

testing natural materials in concrete

tacking the tree bark on the concrete forms, 2008

Studio Frank Havermans casting parts with tree bark, 2008

concrrete form parts with shooted tree bark

Havermans building TORXD-2009

installing the treebark concrete form

https://frankhavermans.space/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Havermans-buildig-3-torxd.jpg

filling the concrete form

Havermans building TORXD-2009

curing of the concrete form

Studio Frank Havermans casting parts with tree bark, 2008

carefully dismanteling

dismanteled concrete form in the mended river bank

Conversation with a landscape

In 2009 we immediately descided to watch the development of the skin, it’s behaviour and how moss is getting grip on the observatory. After 10 years it is time for an professional check-up.

De Architect is interested in our story of the experiment, it has been published in March 2021. Astrid Aarsen is the perfect journalist to write the article. She has a outstanding feeling for the underground circuit of architecture. Next to Frank she has interviewed Floris Alkemade for being a regular visitor of the observatory, Dirk Sijmons on this knowledge of moss and Paul Roncken being the designer of the landscape art route.

De Architect no1 2021 Astrid Aarsen interview Studio Frank Havermans

2009  

Landscape Observatory 2009, © photo René de Wit

2020

8©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

Landscape Observatory 2020, interview Astrid Aarsen with Frank Havermans   

Landscape Observatory 2009, © photo René de Wit

8©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

Landscape Observatory 2020, interview Astrid Aarsen with Frank Havermans   

Landscape Observatory 2009, © photo René de Wit

8©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

Landscape Observatory 2020, interview Astrid Aarsen with Frank Havermans   

Landscape Observatory 2009, © photo René de Wit

8©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

Landscape Observatory 2020, interview Astrid Aarsen with Frank Havermans   

Frank Havermans 2009, photo René de Wit

3©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

Frank Havermans 2020, photo René de Wit

skin 2009

3©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

skin 2020

skin 2012, photo Marcel Eekhout

3©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

skin 2015, photo Gus Tielens

3©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

skin 2019

3©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

skin 2017

skin back side above the river 2019

3©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

skin winter february 2021

left 2009, up 2020 and 2 children playing, the technical water inlet is also a water world window, 2020

water inlet

Studio Frank Havermans KAPKAR / TO-RXD geocaching

the observatory has become part of the underground game called geocaching, a logbook is hidden in a casting hole, 2020

opening 2009

3©studiofrankhavermans_kapkartorxd_2020

visitors 2020