With bold geometric references to cargo sailing masts and portholes, the primary function of Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter's Sailing Tower is to reference the considerable maritime history of the Danish harbor, which was founded in the 8th century and remains an active commercial port today. The tower, which was inaugurated in August 2015, incorporates two official viewing platforms, the upper one of which offers a 360 degree view of Aarhus. Sited on the docks, the tower is categorized as an urban sculpture, not only for its direct relationship with the harbor, but its visual orientation toward the city.
The staircase offers perforated panoramic views as visitors climb up (although a lift has been installed for those unable to climb stairs), while the steel-plate construction also recalls the feeling of being at sea. At night, the mast-like geometry of the Tower's exterior is illuminated by LEDs.