Discipline: Civil engineering & infrastructure, Port, river & hydraulic engineering
Period: 2017 - ...
Renovation of the Pier in Blankenberge
Start of pier demolition
End of study
Start of study
Currently, the Pier walkway in Blankenberge between the principle building and the Sea Dike is undergoing extensive renovation. After the renovation will have been completed (presumably in late 2023), it will once again look like the Pier did in the interwar period. For this renovation, in 2016 SBE, in collaboration with the architectural firm JUXTA, was appointed as the designer by the city of Blankenberge.
The very first Pier in Blankenberge was built in the 1890s and it featured a cast-iron main supporting structure. During WWI, the Pier was burnt down by the German occupiers who feared its use as a jetty by enemy troops.
The Blankenberge city council decided to purchase the Pier in 1928 and proceeded to rebuild it in the 1930s. The new design was entrusted to a partnership of J. Soete, conductor of Bridges and Roads, professor G. Magnel of Ghent and engineer-architect A. Bouquet. The Pier was rebuilt as a reinforced monolithic concrete structure, integrating the cast-iron columns of the original structure into new concrete columns.
Why a renovation?
The Pier had been suffering from the effects of extensive corrosion of the reinforcement steel in the concrete structure for years. These effects are a direct consequence of the location, which is partly in the sea and partly on the beach. Several techniques were employed in the past such as repairs with sprayed concrete, anti-corrosion treatment, integral replacement of parts, additional concrete pouring of the columns, and so forth, but to no avail.
After initial renovation of the concrete structure, the Pier’s access road and principle building were listed as a monument by ministerial decree in 2004.
A design by analogy from 1933
The new design looks sleek and slim and there are only minimal differences from the original model. The entire gangway will be provided in light gray concrete and finished with dark accents, similar to the original plans from the 1930s. As a result, the visible parts will be done using plank formwork to emulate the original look. Where possible, the original cast-iron foundation piles from the 1890s will also be reused.
To better protect the new concrete structure (1500 m³) from corrosion of the reinforcement steel, it will be reinforced with stainless steel and plastic reinforcement instead of conventional reinforcement steel. This type of reinforcement material is less susceptible to corrosion and is therefore better protected against the aggressive conditions in which the Pier is located.
A dry construction pit was created around the Pier’s access road by means of a meter-high, sea-resistant, U-shaped cofferdam to allow the works to be carried out dry. This cofferdam also allows for drainage to be performed for work on the deeper foundations.
SBE is acting as the consulting engineer for the restoration of the Pier access road. The tasks include:
- Preliminary study and design for the tender;
- Final design;
- Monitoring of the works.