Port House Antwerp

New Port House for the Antwerp Port Authority (APA) will serve as its new headquarters, which will solve the shortage of work space of Antwerp Port Authority in their present port house. New Port House is located on the boundary of Antwerp city and its harbor, managing to bring this exquisite landmark a great view of the city and its port.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects won the competition to design this new Port House in 2009. But the construction started in late 2011 and it is still going on. After completion, the building will be able to accommodate approximately 500 staff members. The building design consists of two entities: a former fire brigade station and a new crystalline structure lifted above the retained building. Together, this forms a marvelous landmark on the Antwerp skyline with an architectural mix of new modern glass structure suspended over the historic fire station.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Now talking about the description of the building, the beam-shaped upper structure positioned symmetrically over the central courtyard allowing light to the heart of the building. We find that, it stands on three pillars which house stairs and lifts. Leaving the structure untouched, two of the pillars are situated on the covered inner courtyard of the fire brigade station, while the third one is located beside an external support point and consists of a panoramic lift shaft. The new building’s volume is enclosed by an articulated glass surface, the outside walls are made up of glass triangles, some are transparent and some are reflecting. These do not all lie in the same plane but are slightly rotated with respect to one another. This creates an analogy of incoming light in a reference to Antwerp’s diamond industry. By this articulated glass façade, the building reflects the surrounding during day and transforms into a glowing crystal during night.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The inner courtyard is roofed over at the height of the second story so it creates an enclosed central entrance hall. This is considered as a semi-public space, with various inquiry desks integrated in the inside wall portals. Staff and visitors arrive in the central atrium where there are public counters, offices and meeting rooms in the existing building. The offices, meeting rooms, auditorium and panoramic restaurant in the new extension are accessible via panoramic lifts just off the central courtyard. There are two underground levels of car and bicycle parking. The restoration and renovation of the existing building and the exterior landscaping of the site form an integral part of the design. The maximum dimensions of the new building extension are 114 m length, 24 m width and 46 m height (this means 4 additional floors). In the construction of new Port House, steel plays the main structural role, 102-tonne in the atrium roof, 205-tonne in the columns and 1500-tonne in the suspended structure.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

As per Zaha Hadid Architects, “With the new Port House we have given a face to the world-class port that Antwerp undoubtedly is. With its dynamic, ambitious and innovative design it stands as a symbol for our port”. Also, Van Peel continued, “From the new building, visitors will have a truly impressive view over the city as well as the port, so further strengthening the dialogue between the people of Antwerp and their port”.

Project Information:

 Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Client: Antwerp Port Authority
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Total Floor Area: 12,800 m2 (Gross); 114 m Length; 24 m Width; 46 m Height (4 extra floors)
Site Area: 16,400 m2
Project Year: 2008 – TBC
Status: TBC
Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher
Project Director: Joris Pauwels
Project Architect: Jinmi Lee
Project Team: Florian Goscheff, Monica Noguero, Kristof Crolla, Naomi Fritz, Sandra Riess, Muriel Boselli, Susanne Lettau
Competition Team: Kristof Crolla, Sebastien Delagrange, Paulo Flores, Jimena Araiza, Sofi a Daniilidou, Andres Schenker, Evan Erlebacher, Lulu Aldihani
 Local Architect: Bureau Bouwtechniek
Structural Engineers: Studieburo Mouton
Services: Ingenium
Specialized Services: Daidalos Peutz
Restoration: Origin
Fire Protection: FPC

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