Safety Pavilion Knokke


City of Knokke-Heist

246m2 + 526m2 environment

Zeedijk-Knokke 660, Knokke-Heist (BE)

Cie-O + John Körmeling

© Tim Van de Velde

  • study
  • in progress
  • built

If there is one building line we shan’t cross, it is the Belgian coastline. Yet somehow there is still that one building left to be built: a new Safety Pavilion – an observation post for the lifeguards of Knokke-Heist. The first of its kind. But should we build where we don’t want to?

- enters Dutch architect/artist John Körmeling -
“… the Belgian coast is a beautiful linear city, isn’t it?”
“… and what if we do nothing, or almost nothing?”
“… it has to be something pretty and playful like Brighton or Joseph Emberton. A party in Belgium! Something round and pink?”

This ‘machine à surveiller’ wants to be virtually absent, yet highly visible at the same time. From the boulevard, only the elevated look-out shows itself, as the cornice of the pavilion coincides with the horizon at sea. From the beach however, a cylindrical object lets in the most democratic of public spaces from all sides. It is bright yellow as plastic beach toys and buoys – as the sun, and one of the universal colours of the lifeguards. A sense of safety is induced by the pavilions’ taboo-free transparency and permeability.