The seashell-shaped Middelkerke Casino will create new landmark and lookout point on the Belgian coast. The building, with its flowing spaces and carefully chosen views, serves as both a leisure and a meeting place, as well as an accommodation. This public function played a key role throughout the design, which caters to visitors’ varied needs.
The building’s round shape transitions organically from public to private, and each of the different functions reflect in its shifting forms. Because it lies close to the waterline, the north face of the new building will have to contend with the wind and sea. On the south side, the project opens up to provide refuge. The interplay of open and closed plays a major role in the project’s swirling dynamism.
Openness of the multipurpose room on the ground floor contrasts with the casino cocooned inside the building. A ramp leading up from the dike forms a vibrant connection to the central courtyard on Level +1, which serves as a gathering public place to relax, but also to live and move, thanks to the brasserie, cafeteria and various multifunctional spaces. The three-tiered hotel structure seems to float above the courtyard, preserving the open sea view.
The project is energy neutral, with large solid surfaces that allow for a thermally insulating outer shell. As a natural protection from the sun, most of the large open glass elements are recessed. The roofs of the building get greener the higher they go, which is not only aesthetically pleasing for the nearby apartments, but also useful in terms of rainwater buffering and recovery.