duincasino middelkerke: a new beacon along the sea
‘Duincasino Middelkerke,’ envisioned along the coast of Belgium, has just won the prestigious International Architecture Award 2022. The project was created by DELVA Landscape Architecture & Urbanism and ZJA, under the direction and supervision of Debuild and in collaboration with OZ, Bureau Bouwtechniek, and various experts from the Nautilus Consortium.
The new venue complex on the coast of Middelkerke will host a casino, hotel, restaurant, multifunctional event space, and an underground parking garage to ensure a car-free zone at street level. In addition to reinforcing the sea embankment and making it car-free, the design forms part of an improved public space where the boulevard and Epernay square meet.
Steven Delva, founding partner at DELVA, comments: ‘The integral design is a new chapter in the history of Middelkerke, which once originated as a fishing village after dunes were formed on the historic Testerep peninsula. The dunes offered protection against flooding, and the channel between the island and the mainland was directly connected to the North Sea. After a century of large-scale developments and infrastructure projects, the original landscape has largely disappeared under stone and asphalt. Our design will restore the dune landscape to its former glory.’
all images courtesy of DELVA
The teams at DELVA (see more here) and ZJA (see more here) envisioned the public space of ‘Duincasino Middelkerke’ to be integrated within the existing Epernay square, creating a harmonious weaving of fluid geometries. Connecting the town, the square, and the beach is a vast artificial dune in which the casino, the public hall for concerts and exhibitions, and the restaurant are located.
Sea lyme grass, water elements, and sand gullies flowing towards the beach simulate a dune experience. The new public space, with the climb to the green square on top of the dune, is a tourist attraction in its own right. Attached to the open space is a beach hotel with its enigmatic sculptural silhouette, an understated icon with an open grid of curved beams in Accoya wood,’ shares DELVA.
a public-private partnership
This project was only possible through dedicated collaborations with the various services of the municipality of Middelkerke, the Environment department and the Agency for Maritime Services and Coast of the Flemish government. Indeed, the entire design optimizes energy, waste management, and production processes and applies recyclable materials where possible.
Jean-Marie Dedecker, mayor of Middelkerke, concludes with the following. ‘The International Architecture Award is testimony that we made the right choice two years ago. Our selection committee, which included a range of experts, was immediately drawn to the sober and intuitive design. This award has now validated the unanimous decision. We also had the feeling that the construction team had done its homework thoroughly and had come up with a stylish and sustainable design. This landmark for our town is being constructed now. We are eagerly awaiting the new Venue Building’s domino effect to boost the Middelkerke experience.’
restoring the original dune landscape
‘Duincasino Middelkerke’ plan
name: Duincasino Middelkerke
client: Municipality of Middelkerke
landscape architecture: DELVA
execution architect: Bureau Bouwtechniek
casino and hotel design: OZ
contractors: Democo, Furnibo
consultants: COBE, VK Engineering, Beersnielsen, Witteveen+Bos, Plantec, MINT, Sertius