Permanence of Change

In 2017 the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment invited Badriah Hamelink to join a think-tank of creatives. Their mission: to propel the transition to a more sustainable future by means of redesigning our environment. The design that Badriah made, is for a pavilion that functions both as a landmark and as a meeting place. 



A small desert called the ‘sand engine’ spreads out along the coastline of Kijkduin (NL). In this place, where sand and sea meet, hikers usually walk past each other thoughtlessly. Their curiosity is aroused by an unknown object that is placed in the landscape. After a brisk walk through the sand, the hikers find themselves connected in marveling at their find. In this way, a conversation, that would otherwise not have come about in such a vast landscape, can unfold.

Contrary to what one might initially think, the sand engine is not a natural phenomenon. The sand engine, built in 2011, is an artificial sandbank in the shape of a peninsula. Due to the sea current, the sandbank changes shape. Its sand spreads along the coast over the years. It is an experiment in the context of dynamic coastal management with the intention of widening the beaches and dunes in a natural way, through the effect of waves, wind and currents.

Not only do these wide beaches attract many hikers, but also for windsurfers, kitesurfers and wave surfers it is a popular place. In addition to its social function, the sand engine also has an ecological function. Because a big quantity of sand has been deposited at once for the following twenty years, a permanent ecosystem can develop both on land and in the water. This is important for the development of vulnerable flora and fauna on the coast. It is impossible to predict exactly how the sand and currents will behave. In the constantly changing environment, the pavilion would therefore be the only stable point.

In the context of Manifesto 2040, aiming to create an environment friendly landscape, Artist Badriah Hamelink designed a special meeting place for the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment as a focal point in this no man’s land of sand and sea. A pavilion where people from the adjacent beaches can walk towards. Due to its proportions, this pavilion will be visible from afar, but because of its shape and appearance it coincides with its surroundings. The shape is directly derived from it’s surroundings and reflects the sharp edges that the wind blows into the sand and the slight slope of the dunes.


Hamelink has chosen limestone as material for the model. A sedimentary rock created by the accumulation of physical remains of marine organisms. For the actual pavilion, the sand from the sand engine may be used in a composite mixture, so that the colour of the Pavilion matches the sand.

The long walk towards the pavilion refreshes the senses and the balanced visual stimuli of the environment restructure the walker’s thoughts. Because the environment only changes slowly during the walk and the gaze is focused on one point on the horizon, time seems to stand still for a moment. The vastness and meditative mood of the sand engine find their way into Hamelink’s design and offer the hiker a physical and mental resting point. Once on site, one could walk up the ridge of the pavilion and look out over the surroundings, or seek shelter from the sun or the wind and the rain under the wings of the pavilion.

The pavilion is environmentally friendly and it does not need to be anchored, because regardless of the weather it will remain in place due to its weight. As the sea advances and the sand washes away at the foot of the pavilion, the pavilion will tilt around its central axis, providing a unique view every time one comes to visit. The sand concrete will erode more and more into sand. Over time, all the sand washes away from the sand engine. The remains of the pavilion will be streamlined stone on the seabed, ultimately coinciding completely with the North Sea coast.

Catalogue in print.