Lifeguard towers are structures which many holidaymakers have seen but very few have actually noticed. In fact, if you've ever been to a beach, there's a good chance a lifeguard tower will have popped up in your field of vision at some point during your visit only to slip from your mind almost instantly. Maybe it's because the majority look very similar to each other, or maybe we're used to ignoring them from the days when they starred in Baywatch alongside many - relatively - more attractive characters.
In honour of their thankless creators, here's a selection of lifeguard tower designs.
Miami Beach, Miami, Florida
It's no surprise that many of the lifeguard towers of Miami Beach are vibrant, multi-coloured affairs, and it makes sense too when you consider that they're often used as landmarks for both swimmers and beachgoers. These sometimes garish structures were originally produced by architect William Lane, free of charge, following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and their design (basically an elevated hut) is the most widely recognised.
The futuristic lifeguard tower of Calafell juts from the beach and manages to resemble a giant tuning fork pushed through the sand. Either that or a scene from a post apocalyptic Baywatch episode. A small ledge half way up the tower provides the lifeguard's viewing platform, which is reached by way of steps running up the tower's spine.
Bellevue Beach, Copenhagen
Back in 1932, Danish modernist architect Arne Jacobsen was commissioned to design kiosks, changing cabins and these two lifeguard towers on Bellevue beach in Copenhagen, Denmark. The resulting towers still stand today, the two stripey tripods having proudly peered out to sea for an impressive 77 year stretch, and they continue to look classy.
Unfortunately the architect responsible for this one is unknown (to me at least). It's a uniquely angular lifeguard tower which leans over the sand of Tylösand in Halmstad, Sweden whilst somehow managing to resemble an air traffic control tower attempting the Smooth Criminal lean. Its concrete core brings to mind brutalist architecture of the 1970s.
If I had to live in a lifeguard tower, this one would easily be my choice.The handiwork of German engineer Ulrich Müther along with architect Dietrich Otto, this beautiful pod can be found on the beach in Binz, on the German island of Rügen. It has stood since 1975. Its enormous windows and curved pod give it an otherworldly feel.
Grocio Prado, Peru
The oversized lifeguard's highchair at Grocio Prado in Peru is actually quite a common design. Such towers are relatively cheap to build and highly mobile. However, not many look as incredibly inviting at this particular one.
The coastal city of Alicante is home to this minimalist, modern, white lookout tower. A tiny, covered ledge accommodates the beach's lifeguards whilst the tower's bright colour-scheme hopefully goes some way towards reflecting the sun away.