SILT: a new beacon by the sea

‘SILT’, recently opened its doors. Both captivating and sincere, the event venue is an asset to the Flemish coast in many ways. With great love for the sea and dunes, the new landmark combines coastal reinforcement, landscape, livability, and sustainability. The distinctive design was created by DELVA and ZJA, in collaboration with OZ and Bureau Bouwtechniek, along with a series of experts forming the Nautilus Construction Team.

SILT: a new beacon by the sea 
The designers have anchored the building to the site by integrating it into a new experiential landscape, inspired by the former island of Testerep, characterized by dunes (coastal defense) and tidal channels (prosperity). The fusion of the building into the landscape ensures that coastal reinforcement, livability, and sustainability harmonize with the existing coastline. In the heart of the landscape, the hotel tower manifests itself as a new beacon by the sea. SILT also houses a casino, a restaurant, a multifunctional event space, and an underground parking garage. 

Steven Delva, founder and partner at DELVA and landscape architect: “Skyscrapers define the skyline of a modern of a modern city. For SILT, the design team sought a ‘landscraper’: a new, unique horizontal dune landscape with a program inside. We use this typical landscape as a means to integrate all the challenges in a seemingly natural way. It results in a new experiential dune landscape. A landscape where residents and visitors can once again enjoy the view, the sea, the skies, and the dunes.” 

An underground parking garage creates a car-free zone, allowing the public space above it to flourish. Marram grass, dune bowls, and sand channels that lead to the beach give Middelkerke back its characteristic landscape. The climb to the top of the new dune offers breathtaking views and is itself a tourist attraction. 

Securely anchored in place 
The design team implemented a high-quality integral concept to firmly embed the project within the site’s spatial, social, and economic characteristics. Rather than a standalone and inward-facing structure, it is a building seamlessly integrated into the landscape, establishing a sustainable connection with its surroundings in all aspects. 


Client: Municipality of Middelkerke.
Construction team Nautilus is a Dutch-Belgian collaboration between DELVA (landscape architect) and ZJA (architect), in collaboration with OZ and Bureau Bouwtechniek. Developer: Debuild. Advisors: COBE, VK Engineering, Beersnielsen, Witteveen+Bos, Plantec, MINT, and Sertius. Contractors: TM Furnibo-Democo. 

Photography by Sebastian van Damme 

About Damian Holmes 3339 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at