In 2012 the infrastructural works of the Maasvlakte 2, an artificial island in the Port of Rotterdam, will be brought into use. The area is made accessible by the N 15, a highway with various infrastructural works.

The so-called dune viaducts of the N 15 are situated on the dividing line of two very different environments: the coastal landscape of dunes and the industrial port area. The viaducts connect these worlds, balancing between the contrasts of the two extremes. Nature and industry, tranquility and activity, recreation and work, organic and mechanic, sloping and flat are some of the many opposites that converge here.

These contrasts reverberate in a series of infrastructural works that are on the one hand restrained regarding design, material and colour. On the other hand, the creative tension makes itself felt. The design uses the distinguishing features of both landscapes, and enhances them to reach a final and exciting confrontation regarding shape, colour, rhythme and movement.

At the junctions, the road seems to be embedded into the dunes. The retaining walls are shaped organically, using the vocabulary of the landscape. By contrast, the bridges and viaducts are robust, their solid industrial shape and rhythme makes a visual connection with the port area. The colour of the pigmented concrete further emphasizes this contrast: the retaining walls are made from white concrete, while the bridges are dark grey.

The materials have a rough and solid character, and the design and detailing is restrained and sober. All these elements contribute to the landmark function of the viaducts that is needed in this contrasting environment.

Client: Port of Rotterdam