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Landmark Rusty Nail

Lusatia, Germany
1 of 8Thomas Spier

Between Dresden and Berlin is based the largest artificial lake landscape in Europe - Lusatian Lake Land. The mighty craters left behind where huge diggers once lifted lignite out of the earth are now being flooded. A former moonscape is being transformed into a »water world« of thirty lakes, ten of which are connected by navigable canals. The Lusatian Lakeland Landmark provides a panoramic view of the lake landscape.

The city of Senftenberg and IBA open a competition in 2005 to design a Lusatian Lakeland Landmark: a viewing tower on the Sorno canal between the Lake Sedlitz and the Lake Geierswalde (and between Brandenburg and Saxony) in the heart of the Lake Land, which would also be a sculpture and a symbol for the transformation of the landscape. Out of 145 entries, the partnership Stefan Giers from Munich and the landscape architecture firm Giers from Wettenberg won. In 2008, the LMBV (the sponsor of the project), the city (contractor for the project), and the IBA (project initiator), celebrated its opening together – appropriately enough, in a year with the IBA theme 'Seensucht Lausitz' (a play on 'See' = 'lake' and 'Sehnsucht' = 'longing'). Made from rust-coloured Corten steel, the Landmark is intentionally reminiscent of the industrial origins and history of the Lake land and of steel mining machinery – while the sculptural staircase is a symbol of human achievement and of the future. From a height of thirty metres, its users can see three lakes and the Schwarze Pumpe, Boxberg and Jänschwalde power plants on the horizon.

Since its opening, the Landmark has received widespread attention in specialist circles, among the general population, and from visitors. The project has received architecture prizes and positive reviews in specialist magazines, as well as high visitor numbers. The Landmark has also become a popular destination or stopping-off point for cyclists and roller-skaters, and has been nicknamed the »Rostiger Nagel» or »rusty nail.«