Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
COASTAL WORK KATWIJK in Netherlands by OKRA
June 6th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: OKRA
The field of coastal defence and waterworks is the epitome of Dutch expertise. Where the famous Delta Works consist of movable dams and locks, the majority of the Dutch coastline is protected by dunes against water. ‘Rijkswaterstaat’, the department responsible for all water related infrastructure within the ministry of infrastructure and environment, is constantly working to improve the coastal defence in the Netherlands. In recent decades it works to strengthen some of the ‘weak links’ along the coast. In many places, dunes and dikes are being strengthened to ensure safety inland for the next 50 years.
‘Rijkswaterstaat’ has identified the coast of Katwijk as one of these ‘weak links’ in need of being strengthened. To keep Katwijk and its surroundings safe for the next 50 years a coastal reinforcement will be constructed. OKRA has been involved in designing, in collaboration with Arcadis, Municipality of Katwijk and the Water Board of Rhineland, an attractive and safe coastal reinforcement for this stretch of the coast for the last five years.
Unlike the development of the Delta Works, in Katwijk recreational use currently plays an important role. Tourism, tourist destinations and resorts are a major economic engine for the area and needs to be considered when discussing the implication of the proposed coastal defence development. The need to strengthen the coast of Katwijk is intended to maintain and support the existing values for the village and the resorts within the area.
The design for the coast of Katwijk is the result of an extensive interactive process with local residents and stakeholders. In formulating the principles for the design, an inventory of the wishes and ideas of the local people has been made during the course of several meetings. One of the cornerstones of the plan was defined during the discussions, namely the connection between the village and the beach.
In the future proposal the coast will be broadened and increased, resulting in a larger distance between the village and the sea and consequently the direct line of sight of the sea will be lost in many places. To maintain a good relationship, the dune to the beach transitions are positioned in line with the street pattern of the village, resulting in retaining optimal connection. Lookout points and a dune boardwalk offer a sea view where that is lost with the broadening of the coast.
A second important principle of the plan is to create a dune landscape. This is how the inhabitants of Katwijk characterise their seaside village, not only a boulevard along the coast. Within this area of sand dune vegetation there will be paths follow a curve so that the dune experience is stronger. With the increasing of minimal existing dune areas will create a new aspect of Katwijk. A network of longitudinal and perpendicular paths provides access to the dunes.
The highlight of the design is a broad ‘dune transition’ that acts as a square space. This centrally located ‘dune transition’ offers a comfortable walk to the beach and connects to the high street of the village. Seating elements at this broader ‘dune transition’ create a space to stay and meet and on the beach side there is space create to facilitate events throughout the summer. The whole area creates a vibrant heart for the coast of Katwijk.
The coastal defence (engineered by Arcadis) itself consists of a dike in dune construction. A stone-lined embankment is covered and reinforced by seaward dunes. A unique aspect of the project is the construction of a parking garage within the landward side of the dike. This garage (designed by RHDHV) accommodates more than 550 parking spaces and is within the dune landscape hidden from view.