A bridge is a strong signal in the linear landscape of the coast: it is a reference point for those who come from Blankenberge or Wenduine.
Thinking about bridges we came to a number of considerations. A bridge crosses something: water, a road, a valley, a swamp .. The bridge is made in the way that once you can't pass underneath anymore, the space underneath is filled.
The bridge is also more than just a passage from one side to the other. It is an experience for the hiker, the jogger, for a disabled, for a family with children, packed and loaded with all kinds of beach bags and toys. Therefore it should also be safe and provide good shielding from the traffic below.
The bridge is an access trail to the dunes and the sea. Residents of the campsites, caravans and fishermen's cottages enter the bridge from the stairs or ramps. Vacationers who park along the south east side of the road, or are coming from Wenduine follow the same path. And bikers who now use the new two-way bike path on this side of the road, also cross the bridge. Vacationers who come from Blankenberge and park along the north west side of the road - along the tram tracks - can use the stairs in the middle to access the bridge.
The bridge is an asymmetric structure: the north east side is 3 m high, full, thick and solid, has horizontal slits. The north side is about 2 m high, light, is composed of a thin fabric, is rather fragile, and in contrast to the other side. The walker who moves slowly looks through the slits on one side, but has an open view on the other side. Also from the road along the coast the bridge shows its very different sides depending on the direction from which one comes.
On the dunes side (the north west end of bridge) we descend via the "dunes stairs" to the walkway. It's a sand castle with zig-zag ramps, steps and double-height steps in sandy concrete, as a sitting, reading, tanning and resting place. Nestled in the slope this descent follows the natural slope of the dunes with a a retaining wall to protect flora and fauna.
At the camp side (the south east side of bridge) the descent is linear. The walker chooses at the end of the bridge for the fast way by the straight stairs or takes the slow route over the ramps along a wall. This closed wall, around the slopes is 1.20 m so pedestrians can look at the landscape. Between the foot of the slope and the main staircase a sunny spot is created where the existing path widens. The staircase wall in the southwest provides a long bench. Because of a large opening in the wall along the coastal road, it is also a clear signal for the cyclist, the tourists who arrive by car, the jogger, .. that this is the place for to start crossing the bridge.
CREDITS: Program: Pedestrian bridge Client: city of Wenduine Location: Wenduine BE Timeline: 2005 Project Team: Marie-José Van Hee, Maarten Vanbelle, Pieter Vansteeger, Dietlinde Verhaeghe, Wim Voorspoels Structural Engineer: BAS (Dirk Jaspaert), Bureau Bouwtechniek (Jan Moens, Philippe Van Tendeloo) Translation: Frederik De Smedt