Client: Ostend Municipality
Status: Competition (2015)
Location: Ostend, Belgium
Coordinates: 51.226224, 2.900191
Climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate
Types: Masterplan, Public space, Waterfront
The dyke walk of the city has two key issues: excessive distance from the sea and too much shadow. Our proposal tries to create an alternative route which will be able to revitalise the area. We intend a minimal intervention in this extraordinary environment without hampering the great attributes of the beach.
Our intervention explores strategies to plan a new beach walk that negotiates with the sea tides, shadows, and current urban structure. We propose a customised flexible system for Ostend, which will change along the year in order to satisfy residents’ requirements.
The path has two key attributes: (1) it allows and encourages sports and leisure activities, from walking to running, biking and a series of performance and relaxing areas or activity zones; (2) it provides flexibility based on the season. During winter, it will provide a fully accessible route for pedestrians and bikes to enjoy the sea experience under the winter sun. In summer, we will concentrate the pavement to become an extension of the current dyke. It will be the place where the beach infrastructure will be located, e.g. cafes and changing rooms. In the autumn and spring it could provide an open air auditorium, spaces for events and activities, a seating area for sunset views, and playground areas for kids.
This new beach walk is materialised in a new recycled Ostend brick, produced by recycling existing construction elements from the city. By inheriting the characteristic yellow tone of the city, it provides the possibility to blend in with the sand beach. Some Ostend shells would be added to the mix to create recycled, high-performance genuine brick. These pieces are mounted on a flexibrick system (already tested on marine environments) which will allow us to develop the desired trajectories revitalising the elegant seafront.