A 1,200 m long sand dune tops the dike, creating a height of between 10 to 11 m above mean sea level for the new coastal protection system in Katwijk aan Zee. The dune has been planted with marram grass and includes paths, a boardwalk, and benches so that visitors can stroll along its crest or to the sea, depending on their wishes. The dike is covered with sand for protection purposes, but also to maintain the natural look of the dunes and the beach. The project made accessibility between the beach and the municipality a priority.
But the sand dune conceals more than just the municipality's coastal protection. A 30 m wide, 500 m long parking garage is also located within the dune, extending parallel to—and inland from—the reinforced dike. By tucking the parking structure into the dune, just 3 m from the dike, it became possible to increase the seaside parking capacity by combining the two projects into one.
The 663-space parking garage is carefully embedded into its natural dune environment and builds forth on the design of the public space and landscape. It links the town to the sea seamlessly. These carefully shaped dunes, which rise up organically to create subtle entrances and exits, not only ensures that the character of the dunes stays intact, it also let natural daylight flowing into the underground parking garage, benefitting the orientation within the long, elongated parking garage. The design also ensures that the colours and materials used, fuse seamlessly into the urban fabric of Katwijk aan Zee and its characteristic dune landscape. At the sea side of the parking garage, the emergency exits are located. These exits are minimized in size, and are designed as sculptures in the dunes.
The unique setting, between the sea and the village, required high quality and sustainable finishes,because of its difficult weather conditions.Glass, (perforated, weatherproof) steel, porcelain tiles and exposed concrete are the dominant materials used. These materials are applied in a consistent and modest way, to emphasize its natural surroundings and to ensure low maintenance. To minimize nuisance to the environment and shorten the time to build the parking, it was chosen to build modular with prefabricated concrete elements. The entrances are set up identically, although the situation required every time a unique connection with its boulevard. Many elements have been standardized, and identical details have been applied which strengthens its modest architectural appearance. The garage is built from precast concrete elements (constant high quality of the wall, columns and roof). The road surface of the garage consists of interlocking bricks. To have as much daylight as possible the visitor entrances are transparent from top to bottom.
The underground parking garage in Katwijk aan Zee has been awarded, next to several international awards, the BNA Best Building of the Year 2016 by the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA). The award is the most important architectural award in the Netherlands.