De Smet, SD (2024)

If you grew up in or around South Dakota, you probably know a bit about US HWY 14, De Smet, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. If not, here’s an observation tower where you could get up to speed.

This was a theoretical design for an international competition put on by Buildner. The design draws inspiration from covered wagons (sometimes called Conestoga wagons) to connect with the pioneering history of the site.

The tower features three landings offering different views of the historic natural area. We knew the winning design would be built by local volunteers, so a big challenge was to conceive a structure that was interesting and engaging for visitors yet simple and intuitive to construct.

Our design was shortlisted among hundreds of entries. You can see some of the other concepts here.

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