The SeaSaw, Den Helder, Netherlands

Friday 13 Apr 2018
Credit: MVRDV

Architects: MVRDV

Connecting the sea and the land

MVRDV has won the competition to create a new public installation on the northern dyke of the city of Den Helder in Holland

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. MVRDV were selected as winners by Zeestad, an independent organisation in partnership with the municipality of Den Helder in the international competition to create a new symbol for the city 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 dyke.

“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,” says 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.”

The design responds to the current lack of a distinguishable symbol for Den Helder. A town with a remarkable flood defence system, a dike running from the dunes to the harbour blocks sea views. SeaSaw makes a new connection between land and water by creating a viewing platform on the dyke, and by the sea. In this way, a relationship between Den Helder and the sea is formed. This new installation signals the start of renewal and rediscovery of the dyke and its surroundings with a new landmark that matches the identity of Den Helder: tough and energetic.

In addition to the design of SeaSaw, a scenic 5-km walking, cycling and hiking route is introduced across the dyke to connect it better to both the city and sea. Activating the seafront, this weaving pathway invites visitors and resident to climb the dyke 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 and completion is set for 2019. 

The WAN Awards Civic category is now open for entries 

Click here for more details  or email wanawards@haymarket.com

Nick Myall

News editor