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