Types: Intervention, Landscape, Monument, Refurbishment
The project is situated in Dunkerque, a small town in northern France, close to the belgian border. Due to its strategic location at the English Chanel the city was already part of a large-scale fortification under Ludwig XIV in the 17th century. His fortress architect Sébastian le Prestre de Vaubaun enclosed France with the «ceinture de fer» and built the fort ‘Batterie de Zuydcoote’ in the middle of the dunes.
During the Second World War Dunkerque became part of the Atlantic Wall and the Batterie was transformed and renamed to ‘Malo Terminus’. Nowadays the bunkers are unused and are sculptural landmarks, monolithic foreign bodies in a beautiful coastal landscape.
A ring with a diameter of 210m is placed on the crest of the dune, enclosing the fortification to evoke the motif of a ‘hortus conclusus’ (lat. enclosed garden). Due to its size the ring is visible from far away, creating a new landmark. The edifice can be passed underneath and access to the upper part is possible at three points. Inside the ring the view is focussed on the enclosed space. While proceeding through the building, it’s structure changes subtly altering the perspective and range of view. In the northern part above the sea, it resembles an open walkway to increase the impact of the bunkers.
The place of the fort has always been artificial. The whole dune was transformed for its construction. The Project is reversing the force of the bunkers. They no longer act from inside to the outside, instead they are now objects on a stage, creating a scenery to be watched from the outside. Instead of only transforming a single bunker, the this project transforms theentire space, changing the meaning of its content.