International Architecture Award for Middelkerke casino

The prestigious International Architecture Award 2022 has been awarded to the event building Middelkerke, in Belgium. The design came about under the direction and supervision of Debuild and was created by the architectural firm ZJA and DELVA Landscape Architects, in collaboration with OZ and Bureau Bouwtechniek and a range of experts, who together form the Nautilus Construction Team. The International Architecture Awards are the oldest and most prestigious global awards in the field of construction. They are awarded annually by the Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, and are considered to be at the forefront of architecture.
Venue Building Middelkerke IAA2022 web nieuwsbrief persbericht 4607 4607

New beacon by the sea

The brief to design a new event building on the coast near Middelkerke while reinforcing the existing seawall was approached from the perspective of the original landscape. The design adds a renewed dune landscape to the existing coast. At the heart of the area rises a striking building that stands as a new beacon by the sea. The event building Middelkerke will house a casino, a hotel, a restaurant, a multifunctional event space and an underground car park that will provide a car-free zone at street level. Besides reinforcing the seawall and car-free zone, the design also contributes to the improvement of the public space, by fusing the boulevard and the Epernayplein.

Venue Building Middelkerke IAA2022 web nieuwsbrief persbericht 4607 4607

Integration with landscape and coastal defences

The soul of the design lies in the intimate integration with the dune landscape, the transformation of the centre of Middelkerke into a pedestrian-friendly area and the realisation of a building that acts as an eye-catcher. All while strengthening the sea dyke that provides Middelkerke with safety, along with urban renewal and an economic boost.

New public space

The design creates an extensive public space with the existing Epernayplein as its centre. The dyke is moved further into the sea, allowing for an extension of Epernayplein while integrating it into the landscape. An underground car park provides a car-free zone. As a link between the city, the square and the beach, a large artificial dune has been built, housing the casino, the public hall for exhibitions and concerts and a restaurant. Tall grass, water features and sandy channels opening onto the beach simulate a dune experience. The new public space, with its climb to the green square on top of the dune, is a tourist attraction in itself.

Sustainable icon on the Flemish coast

Linked to the event building, the beach hotel, with its enigmatic, sculptural silhouette, is a restrained icon with an open grid of curved beams of accoya wood. The entire design optimises the processes of energy supply, waste disposal and production, and applies reusable materials wherever possible.

Public-private collaboration

The project was only possible thanks to intensive cooperation with the services of Middelkerke municipality, the Environment Ministry and the Maritime Services and Coast Agency of the Flemish government.


Client: The municipality of Middelkerke
Building Team Nautilus is a Dutch-Belgian collaboration between: Architect: ZJA(main architect), DELVA (landscape architect) in collaboration with OZ (casino and hotel design) and Bureau Bouwtechniek(executive architect)
Developer: Debuild
Consultants: COBE, VK Engineering, Beersnielsen, Witteveen+Bos, Plantec, MINT and Sertius
Contractors: Democo and Furnibo

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