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<Overview

Location: Middelkerke
Discipline: Port, river & hydraulic engineering
Period: 2018 - ...

Westende Green Sea Dike

Construction of a wave damping extension (WDE)

winter season 2021 - 2022

Construction of the west grass dike

winter season 2021 - 2022

End of study

March 2020

Start of study

January 2018 

The 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 seafront with marram grass in the other zones.

The THV 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.

A visual experience of sea and beach

In the first phase of the project (2020-2021 winter season), the green sea dike west of the commercial heart of Westende was completed. Maximum effort will be made in this zone 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.

From the fall (2021-2022 winter season), the works continued with the construction of the WDE in the center of Westende. Three spatial principles have been used in the design of this ‘hard’ seawall at the level of the WDE to enhance the visual experience of the sea and the beach:

  • A visual disconnection of the WDE from the existing sea dike by means of a 5 meter wide zone of dune vegetation;
  • Reorganizing beach activities through rhythmic zoning in longitudinal and transverse directions;
  • A structuring redesign of the sea dike through a clear zoning of the terrace zone and the walkway.

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 will seamlessly connect to the zones to the east (construction in the 2022-2023 winter season) and to the west where the green sea dike will be realized and a new total experience of the sea dike will be created in Westende.

SBE tasks

Within the THV Groene Zeedijk, SBE is responsible for the following aspects within this assignment:

  • beach erosion calculations
  • wave transformation calculations
  • scale tests feedback
  • structural design of the sea dike