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MVRDV builds "a scenic 5-km floating platform" to create a new symbol for Den Helder

Netherlands Architecture News - Apr 12, 2018 - 06:02   8608 views

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MVRDV has won a competition to design a new public landmark for the city of Den Helder in the Netherlands, a scenic 5-metre floating platform makes an infinite loop, while representing the connection between city and sea with its strong undulated form.

Called SeaSaw, the new public installation, selected by Zeestad and the municipality of Den Helder, was praised for demonstrating "an energetic spirit of the city is represented as an infinite form," by the jury. 

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The floating concrete platform will be built on the northern dike of the city of Den Helder, aiming to become a new symbol of the city and to help it develop a sense of identity, and establish a renewed connection between the city and the sea which became more disconnected after a recent reinforcement of the dike. 

Den Helder is located on the northernmost point of Holland and is home to the country’s main naval base. The city’s unique location and heritage have made it a viewing point for the Marsdiep, North and Wadden Sea.

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"The SeaSaw for Den Helder is a memorable, undulating public art installation which responds to its context and history, whilst literally representing the dynamics of the sea in its infinite movement," said Jacob van Rijs, co-founder, MVRDV. 

"The installation respects the existing dike whilst allowing visitors and inhabitants to experience both city and sea from a whole new perspective."

Conceived as a significant response to the current lack of a distinguishable symbol for Den Helder, the town has a remarkable flood defence system, and is described as "a dike" running from the dunes to the harbour blocks sea views.

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SeaSaw will make a new connection between land and water by creating a viewing platform on the dike, and by the sea. In this way, the fluid-formed public art will create a relationship between Den Helder and the sea, which is anticipated for a long time. 

"This new installation signals the start of renewal and rediscovery of the dike and its surroundings with a new landmark that matches the identity of Den Helder: tough and energetic," added MVRDV in its project brief.

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Program elements

In addition to the design of SeaSaw, a scenic 5-km walking, MVRDV will design new cycling and hiking routes across the dike to connect it better to both the city and sea. 

Activating the seafront, this weaving pathway invites visitors and resident to climb the dike and take a look at the other side. At the junction of these routes, SeaSaw is added in the form of an infinite loop that serves as a viewing platform towards the city and sea. 

MVRDV will work with IMD engineers on the project and the installation is planned to be completed for 2019.

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Conceptual diagram

Project facts

Location: Den Helder, The Netherlands

Year: 2018+

Client: Zeestad and the municipality of Den Helder

Budget: Undisclosed

Design: MVRDV - Winy Maas, Jacob Van Rijs and Nathalie De Vries

Design Team: Jacob van Rijs, Stefan de Koning with Ronald Hoogeveen, Sanne van der Burgh, Geert Folmer, Stavros Gargaretas, Boudewijn Thomas, Mariya Gyaurova, Akshey Krishna Venkatesh, Afrodite Moustroufis, Angel Sanchez Navarro, Boris Tikvarski, Edina Peli, Kristin Schaefer, Katarzyna Nowak, Kevin Loftus, Luca Vacchini, Mirco Facchinelli and Meng Yang

Visualisation: Antonio Luca Coco, Tomaso Maschietti, Giovanni Coni and Kirill Emelianov


IMd Consulting engineers: ir. Pim Peters RO and ir. Sander Lamping

All images © MVRDV 

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