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Tonkin Liu wins green light for Dover seafront scheme

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[FIRST LOOK] Kent County Council has given the thumbs up to Tonkin Liu’s competition-winning scheme to revive Dover’s esplanade

The £2 million ‘radical’ seafront project, called The Lifting Wave, the Resting Wave and the Light Wave, is expected to complete next summer (2010).

The design was selected following a contest in April (2009) organised by the Landscape Institute on behalf of Dover Harbour Board, Dover District Council, Kent County Council, SEEDA and English Heritage.

A spokesman for the practice said: ‘[Our] scheme harnesses the architectural language of Dover’s identity; the gentle nature of the waves on the beach, the rhythmical sweep of the Georgian Seafront Terrace and the undulating topography of the White Cliffs of Dover, and adds to this by creating three new waves.’

Tonkin Liu explaining the three waves

The Lifting Wave is a sculptural ramp and stair formation that rises and falls to connect the beach to the Esplanade. The gentle ramp allows access for all and the sinuous line brings dynamic movement to the beach. The experience of going to and from the beach will be enriched by a shingle garden of local plant species that follows the ramp. The structure is formed with a repeated pattern of textured white pre-cast concrete units.

The Resting Wave is a sculptural retaining wall that provides sheltered spaces along the length of the Esplanade. The wall is formed by a shifting system of white precast concrete blocks that create recessed bays for benches made of weathered oak. The Resting Waveʼs form tilts back and forth and has a rippled surface that catches light. The layered ripple effect is the product of strata layers in the casting process that in the final form will resemble the sedimentary layers of Dover’s White Cliffs. Undulating raised lawns follow the curving line of the wall with occasional trees bringing seasonal colour and variety to the seafront.

The Lighting Wave is a sculptural line of white columns that bring improved lighting and safety to the Esplanade. Along the length of the esplanade the columns rise and fall like the froth on the crest of a wave. The interactive low-energy LED lights can be controlled to go on and off to create dynamic wave movement that will bring a sense of delight to the seafront.

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