MVRDV win competition for landmark public installation in Den Helder with 'infinite loop' design

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
– Jacob van Rijs, co-founder, MVRDV

The Dutch municipality of Den Helder has today (12 April) announced MVRDV as the winners in a competition to design a new public installation on the city’s northern dike representing the connection between city and sea.

The design, called SeaSaw, is a viewing platform that takes the shape of an infinite loop, with visitors able to walk across it in either direction.

Den Helder is located on the country’s northernmost point, home to its main naval base, and overlooks the Marsdiep and the North Sea. However, the recent reinforcement of the dike from the dunes to the harbour to defend against floods blocked sea views and disconnected the site from the city.

SeaSaw has been conceived “to form a new connection between land and water”, reclaiming Den Helder’s sense of identity with a “tough, energetic and distinguishable” symbol. A weaving 5-km walking, cycling and hiking route will run past the new landmark, further helping to re-establish the lost link.

“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.”

The jury praised the winning entry for demonstrating “an energetic spirit of the city is represented as an infinite form.” MVRDV will work with engineering firm IMD, and completion is set for 2019.

The architects are best known for their large-scale mixed-use projects, but they also have form when it comes to delivering smaller landmarks.

In the past, they have completed a tennis clubhouse in Amsterdam from which spectators can view the on-court action from the roof, and a giant temporary staircase in the plaza outside Rotterdam’s central train station. They are currently working on an 80m-long river crossing in a historic Chinese town, designed as a social space for people to meet and enjoy views of the river.

MVRDV  Den Helder  SeaSaw  Jacob van Rijs 
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The Dutch municipality of Den Helder has today (12 April) announced MVRDV as the winners in a competition to design a new public installation on the city’s northern dike representing the connection between city and sea. The design, called SeaSaw, is a viewing platform that takes the shape of an infinite loop, with visitors able to walk across it in either direction. Den Helder is located on the country’s northernmost
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The Dutch municipality of Den Helder has today (12 April) announced MVRDV as the winners in a competition to design a new public installation / MVRDV
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