Promenade’s boardwalk returns the beach to Hjerting. A beach that had always been separated by a low retaining wooden wall and a rock protection barrier is now in a very natural way made accessible. The deck of the promenade rests on top of the rocks and becomes the perfect occasion. The occasion for social interaction, exercise and play, but also for contemplation: a seven hundred meter long easy chair from which to reencounter the horizon.
Within the promenade we explore the archetypical possibilities of the encounter sea-firm land. The bay, the peninsula or pier, the island .This constitutes the “infrastructural frame” of the project, with elements like the floating pier, the ocean pool, the sailing club and the promenade itself.
The poles: men and the horizon
Along the promenade we find lighter interventions, random groupings of posts and poles, almost vegetation or treelike: these will register the strength and change of the elements, the tidal movements, combining at times the purely practical with the plastic or artistic.
Counterbalancing the overpowering presence of the horizon, these elements are used to characterize, tension and segment in a non rigid way the long stretch of the promenade.
Some pole clusters are provided with grips for climbing, other become the markings for official beach volley games. When the weather permits, hammocks are hung between them and become immensely popular among the younger ones. These clusters of poles invite us to leave the promenade and step on the sand.
The floating pier: taking distance
With this structure the promenade reaches out to the sea and leaves firm land. Depending on the tides, it becomes an island or a resting deck lying on the sand. The pier concentrates a lot of action during the summer months: sunbathing, jumping to the water, contemplating the sea front.
The ocean pool: a mirror in the sand
With its bay-like configuration, the sea pool opens its arms to the sea. In high tides it blends with the ocean, in low tides the sea recedes while the pool retains the water and becomes a mirror in the sand. It allows bathing all through the year in any weather condition. It offers the amazing experience of bathing in a haven of placid water even when the sea around is agitated. Winter bathing has become increasingly popular in Denmark. The pool has been provided with an access ramp and different depths, allowing access in wheelchair as well as sheltered bathing for children.
At the northern end of the promenade, when the terrain starts picking height, the sailing club appears, half buried in the planted dunes, a stranded ship whose elevated deck becomes the natural end to the promenade. Surfers, sailors, winter bathers, gather there and make use of its recreational facilities, changing rooms, workshop and a public sauna with a panoramic window facing the horizon. From the domineering deck of the sailing club we look southwards to rediscover our journey along the promenade.
Facts & Credits:
Architects: Nathan Romero (Nathan Romero Arkitekter), Sofie Willems (Spektrum Arkitekter)
Students: Stine Christiansen, Joan Raun, Kira Snowman
type: Open competition, 1. prize
area: 150.000 m2 beachpromenade, 500 m2 sailingclub
client: Esbjerg Municipality, Realdania, Lokale & Anlægsfonden
collaborators: Rambøll, Niras, Chr. Brinck & Søn, A1 Consult, Jensen & Jensen
photos copyright: Asger Simonsen