Pompejus is a watchtower on Fort de Roovere in Halsteren, West Brabant. The tower looks out over the West Brabant Water Defence Line, the oldest part of the Zuiderwaterlinie running from Bergen op Zoom to Grave. Pompejus is a watchtower, an open air theatre and an information point for tourists. Pompejus is named after the first commander of the fortress, Pompejus de Roovere
The edge of the fortress on which Pompejus stands is directed at the enemy. The tower is positioned exactly on that corner. By mirroring up the sides of the fort, a sharp shape is created which leans forward over the moat. As a result, it is closed on the outside, and open at the fort side. This creates space on the inside for an information centre and an open air theatre for 225 people. To see the surrounding area over the trees, the tower must be 25 meters high above the fortress. Because the fortress itself rises 9 metres above the landscape, Pompejus literally towers 34 metres above his surroundings. From the top you can look 20 kilometres far in all directions and you can see the entire West Brabant Water Defence Line. The facade is designed according to the principle of the Voronoi diagram, a mathematical design principle in which we used the triangles of the steel construction in order to make it possible to have windows and openings in the façade. Secondly the facade can be divided into elements to be prefabricated and transported, and add an additional layer to the facade to break the dominance of the triangular steel structure.
In order to make this project possible, a community has grown in Bergen op Zoom who participated in the creation of Pompejus. For example, crowdfunding has been used to let people sponsor Pompejus, companies have sponsored parts of construction such as transport or wood, schools have provided interns, but also organizations have provided interns and volunteers. People who want to use the Pompejus and fort the Roovere in the future have been active to help the development. The aim was to make Pompejus ßour towerß and to connect with the residents of the surrounding area. This has been successful not only because the tower has been built, but above all because there is already an entire organisation to program the fort with events and it will be properly programmed and managed in the coming years.
More Ro&AD Architecten > 19.01.2018
Photos: Katja Effting