The Utzon Water Tower

The Jørn Utzon Water Tower seen from South at Storegade in Svaneke

The Svaneke Water Tower is not just a water tower and seamark - it was drawn by Architect Jørn Utzon or Jorn Utzon, best known for drawing the Sydney Opera House and for winning The Pritzker Architecture Prize, the Nobel Prize of Architecture, in 2003.

An overview from Southeast of the Utzon water tower

Jørn Utzon drew the water tower in 1946, and it was constructed in 1952 according to the Danish Cultural Heritage Database. It was used until 1988 when the water supply system in the are was changed and made it obsolete. The water tower was declared a protected building in 1990. It is one of the few public buildings Jørn Utzon ever drew.

The top section of the Joern Utzon Water Tower in Svaneke on Bornholm

Jørn Utzon was inspired by the "Båke", a beacon or naval signal used along the Juttish West coast since the end of the 16th century. A båke is built when there were no distinguishable markings on a coastline useable by ships in their navigation along the coast. Båker have also been used in the Stockholm archipelago.

An actual båke located South of Hvide Sande on the North Sea coast

This is an actual båke, located a bit South of Hvide Sande on the North Sea coast in Jutland.

A closeup of the top of the watertower

A båke can have a light or fire burning in it to aid the ships in spotting it. The opening in the water tower is probably an imitation of the fire platform in a båke.

A closeup of the bottom of the water tower in Svaneke

The Svaneke Water Tower and navigational aid was built of reinforced concrete and covered by wooden planks on the outer surfaces of its triangular top. On top of the pyramid is a lightning rod.

The Jørn Utzon Water tower seen from Dyrlæge Jürgensensgade in Svaneke on Bornholm

The street address of the Svaneke Sømærket or Svaneke Water Tower used in the Cultural Heritage Database is Dyrlæge Jürgensens Gade 1 A, Svaneke. To get to it, drive to the very Southern end of the street and park. Walk up the dirt road towards Southwest for 30 meters and it's on your right side.


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