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Westende Green Sea Dike

  • Location: MIDDELKERKE [BE]
  • Discipline: PORT, RIVER & HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING
  • Period: 2018 - 2023
  • Official opening
    June 25, 2023
  • Construction of the grass dike on the east & Rauschenbergplein
    Winter season 2022 - 2023
  • Construction of a wave damping extension (WDE
    Winter season 2021 - 2022
  • Construction of the west grass dike
    Winter season 2020 - 2021
  • End of study
    March 2020
  • Start of study
    January 2018
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike - MK walking promenade - GDU (Golf-Damping Extension) - walkers on the promenade
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike - bench - marram grass - sand - buildings with a view of the sea
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike - white beach houses - sun, sea, beach

This sea dike project is part of the ‘Coastal Safety Master Plan’ of the Coastal Division of the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services of the Flemish Government, which is aimed at guaranteeing the safety of the North Sea region under the changing climate. This plan includes the design and redesign of the sea dike at Middelkerke and Westende. It was decided, in consultation with the municipality, to reinforce the existing sea dike by means of a wave damping extension (WDE) in the commercial zones and a green sea dike with marram grass in the other zones.

The joint venture Groene Zeedijk (consisting of SBE, MOP Urban Design, Plantec and CLUSTER) won this design competition with a sustainable, unique and innovative design, while maintaining the technical requirements. With the design, the team wants to use the renewal of the sea dike to put Middelkerke and Westende (back) on the map as a seaside resort for tourists. We then won Blue Innovation Awards for this, presented by De Blauwe Cluster.

A visual experience of sea and beach

In the first phase of the project (2020-2021 winter season), the green sea dike west of the commercial heart of Westende was completed. In the final phase (2022-2023 winter season), the eastern green sea dike was finalized according to the same concept. Maximum effort will be made in these zones to create more greenery with a future-oriented “soft” seawall. A walk among the newly planted marram grass in front of the sea dike should provide for a wonderful experience.

During the 2021-2022 winter season, the works for the construction of the WDE in the center of Westende were carried out. The keystone of this WDE section near Rauschenbergplein was completed in the last work season (2022-2023 winter season). Three spatial principles were used in the design of this ‘hard’ seawall at the level of the WDE and Rauschenbergplein to enhance the visual experience of the sea and the beach:

  • A visual disconnection of the WDE from the existing sea dike by means of a 5-meter-wide zone of dune vegetation;
  • Reorganizing beach activities through rhythmic zoning in longitudinal and transverse directions;
  • A structuring redesign of the sea dike through a clear zoning of the terrace zone and the walkway.
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike Golf-damping extension (GDU) - dike
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike Golf-damping extension
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike Wave-damping extension (GDU) - dike
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike Wave-damping extension (GDU) - terrace - beach - parasols

A new total experience of the sea dike

With this vision, the team considers the extension to be an integral part of the beach, rather than a widening of the sea dike. This concept is given specific expression in the materialization, color scheme and planting structure of the WDE. As a result, the WDE connects seamlessly with the zones to the east and west where the green sea dike will be realized. A new overall experience of the sea dike will be created in Westende in this way.

  • MK promenade - enjoy the sunshine - beach chairs - sun, sea, beach
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike opening - wader bird - flag of the municipality of Middelkerke - sun, sea, beach in Westende Middelkerke
  • eye-catching large bench on the green seawall - opening in Westende Middelkerke - people sitting on the bench - people standing up
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike MK walking promenade - green strip
  • Westende-Middelkerke Green Sea Dike bench - marram grass - sand - buildings with a view of the sea

Responsibilities SBE

Within the joint venture Groene Zeedijk, SBE is responsible for the following aspects within this assignment:

  • Beach erosion calculations
  • Wave transformation calculations
  • Scale tests feedback
  • Structural design of the sea dike

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