Image source:

A creative initiative around the missing tower of the Cathedral of Antwerp, that’s what Designing The Absent is all about.

The Cathedral, as they proudly call the building in Antwerp, was built in the 14th century without taking much account of the budget needs for such a big undertaking. Due to a failing economy, the money quickly ran out and the construction of the Cathedral what stopped. Although the structure of the building meets the functional requirements, the Cathedral lost one of its towers in the process. According to the organizers of Designing The Absent this absence is like a blank canvas:

By generating ideas for a new tower, we can put a focus on the cathedral itself. The given fact of an absent element within an existing structure functions as a great generator for ideas… By playing with the idea of the absence, we generate a focus.

Designing The Absent

The absence of the tower has long provided a sense of desolation, of incompleteness of the building. Designing The Absent aims to fill that void with its contest.

I found pictures of the design of Tim Hobbelman and Chris Idema on the Inhabitat website. And it was right up my alley. This sustainable and green design proposes a self sufficient, organic, completely independent tower, powered by solar energy. It is designed with living walls provided with water through the use of an ingenious system of rainwater collection. The energy needed to keep the water running on the walls is provided by the solar cells placed on every window of the tower.

The green tower, which is similar in form to the current tower, creates a natural environment where birds and other animals can find peace in a city that has otherwise displaced them from their original habitat.

For those of you who would like to participate, the contest runs until April 20, 2010.

Additional Information:
The Designing The Absent website
Check out for additional images of this design