DOVER ESPLANADE REGENERATION, 2009
each wave only touches the shore once
a wave to follow, a wave to rest on and a wave to light your way
The Dover Esplanade project was conceived as three artworks grown out of their social
and environmental context. The Esplanade harnesses the architectural language of
Dover’s identity; the gentle nature of waves on the sheltered beach, the rhythmical
sweep of the Georgian Seafront Terrace and the undulating topography of the White
Cliffs of Dover. The creation of three new bespoke, site-specific sculptural waves brings
a new interactive dynamism to the esplanade.
The Lifting Wave is a repeated formation of ramps and staircases made of pre-cast white
concrete that rise and fall to connect the Esplanade to the lower shingle beach. Layered
miniature steps are arrayed like a fan of cards to create a light-catching textured surface.
The Resting Wave is a retaining wall that runs the length of the Esplanade, providing bay
spaces with seating sheltered from the wind. The shifting system of precast white concrete
blocks tilt back and forth in convex and concave forms, creating a textured surface similar
to that of the sedimentary strata layers of Dover’s White Cliffs.
The Lighting Wave is a line of white columns with artwork that complements the sweeping
form of the sea wall. Along the length of the Esplanade the columns rise and fall like the
froth on the bubbling crest of a wave. The interactive low-energy LED lights create a
dynamic wave movement, bringing a sense of delight to the seafront.
Architects Tonkin Liu
Clients Kent County Council, Sea Change, CABE, Dover Harbour Board, Dover District
Location Dover, UK
Budget £ 2 million
Size 6,000 m²
Structural Engineer Rodrigues Associates & Jacob’s
Lighting Design Tonkin Liu
Urban Planning & Transport JMP
Completion August 2010
Awards RIBA Award; Pre-Cast Creativity in Concrete Award; Sustain Award finalist