Dezeen Magazine

SeaSaw viewing platform by MVRDV

MVRDV reveals plans for rocking viewing platform on Dutch coast

Dutch firm MVRDV has won a contest to create a wave-like viewpoint on the coast of Holland, which is designed to rock like a seesaw with the changing of the tides. 

SeaSaw by MVRDV

MVRDV won a competition organised by urban redeveloper Zeestad to create the public landmark for the municipality of Den Helder with its proposal SeaSaw.

The brief called for a structure to give the area a "sense of identity" and foster a better visual connection with the Wadden Sea, which is obscured by a defensive dike that keeps flood waters at bay.

The walkway, which will be lens-shaped in profile, will cantilever from the ground in opposing directions to create a pair of landings.

SeaSaw by MVRDV

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

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

The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage site most recognised for its tidal mudflats, which attract vast amounts of migrating birds each year. Its waters also run through parts of Germany and Denmark, where last year Copenhagen practice Dorte Mandrup completed a thatched visitors centre for the region in Ribe.

The walkway is designed to rock like a seesaw, but the exact workings are yet to be confirmed.

"The movement is an aspect of the design that is still under development and investigation of feasibility," a spokesperson for the studio told Dezeen.

"The system to create the movement could either be an electrical/mechanic system with plungers, or it could be done by literally shifting weight from one side to the other," they continued. "As said this is still in a research phase and it needs to be seen if this feature will be integrated or not."

SeaSaw by MVRDV

As well as erecting The SeaSaw, the project will also see MVRDV create a five-kilometre pathway for walking, cycling and hiking parallel to the dike.

The architects hope the route will further "activate the seafront", encouraging visitors to climb the barrier and enjoy different perspectives of the landscape.

MVRDV will work alongside Dutch engineers IMD to construct the viewpoint, which is set for completion in 2019.

The practice is also currently working on an office building in Germany that will feature an interactive mirrored facade, and a constructivist-inspired tower block in Moscow.

Project credits:

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