Text description provided by the architects. For years now, the Vlaamse Vereniging voor Watersport (Flemish Aquatics Association) was in dire need of a new clubhouse. The club received a 27 year concession for the lot at the end of the Oude Wenduinse Steenweg and the Bevrijdingsplein, between the former sluice dock and the harbour channel.
The basic idea for the new clubhouse is the intertwining of water, land and tourism. Not only did they focus on the layout, but also the functionality of the building, which will become a public attraction as well as a haven for hikers.
Integration into its surroundings and the optimal use of the scenic prerequisites are the basic principle: the building follows the lines of its unique surroundings. Surfaces and volumes flow together and radiate an organic language. On the inside, the various rooms bathe in rays of natural light. The terraces create the illusion of optical extension of the landscape with a beautiful view of the coming and going of the ships and the marina. Nature interacts with the building by the embedment in the landscape and the natural vista.
The architectural concept interrogates both to nature and the environment, between the water and the land. The dialogue between water and land creates a place – a point de vue – as a fossil of the movements at a junction of streams and lines that intersect. The façade is in addition to this strikingly sleek design mainly characterized by the use of white architectural concrete.
All the facilities of the marina are located on the ground floor. The office of the harbour master and his co-workers are located at the head of the building with a panoramic view of the harbour channel and the marina. The restaurant with its outdoor terrace can be found on the southwest side of the building, basking in the sun with a great view of the harbour channel.
On the first floor, there is a publicly accessible canteen. The bar is connected with the ground floor (with the restaurant) by a void with an elevator and stairs, but can also operate separately.
The high design of the restaurant and bar section was elaborated in collaboration with interior architect Lieven Musschoot.
Durable and fully accessible
The building will be used as a clubhouse for the aquatics association VVW Blankenberge and is accessible to everyone. An elevator to the canteen and the terrace is available to make them accessible for the differently abled, as well as a specially modified restroom with integrated shower facilities. All rooms, and especially the classrooms, are accessible via adequately wide doors and hallways. The environmental construction throughout the grounds and the entrances to the building are all done without thresholds.
Furthermore, there are a number of energetic durability aspects integrated into the concept: there is an HE condensing boiler, ventilation is done with heat recovery, solar water heaters are used for warm water and the use of the materials (concrete) ensures an extended trapping of the heat.
This is a building that has all the necessary potential to take up a central position in the societal happenings and to become a haven of working, relaxing and socialising.
The result is a unique and durable project ready for any potential growth and future perspectives.