Foto: Helene Binet/Zaha Hadid Architects
Architecture Headlines

Antwerp Port Resides Diamond Ship

The domicile of the Antwerp port society reopened after four years of construction is a radical combination of tradition and modernity. The striking building sparkles and flows, seems always on the move a typical design of the recently deceased star architect Zaha Hadid. Cost has reached 55 million euro.

The newly opened headquarters of the port company in the port of Antwerp is many things, but it isn’t one: to see. A huge complex of concrete, steel and glass floats like a blimp about a former fire station and enlarged them so on the double. The design is radical, daring, but strangely appropriate for the port environment.

No wonder it comes from the end of March at the age of 65 deceased architect Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher business partner. The British woman of Iraqi origin was known for their eye-catching creations in a style that she has referred to himself as “fluently” and “kinetic”. Viewers also find exactly the now after four years of around administration building opened back of construction. The entire building, which combines tradition and modernity in a spectacular way, has cost 55 million euro.

Facade of 2000 glass triangles

The facade consists of around 2000 triangular glass panels that EnCase a 900 tons of steel construction and sparkle in the reflection of sky and water. The fabric is kept in abeyance by mighty concrete columns. The glass bubble, which probably is not remembered by about on a mixture of ship and diamond, towers over a grade II listed former fire station. This conveniently located had port society as a workplace for all employees between the city famous for gem trading and the second largest after Rotterdam port in Europe on the so-called island of Mexico to the Kattendijk dock, chosen. Alone: For about 500 people, the building was too small.

The solution: an extension that was advertised as a competition among well-known architects. The conditions were not exactly trivial. Not a normal growing here, since all facades of the original building should be obtained still the port company wanted to know all employees in a building together. The draft, with which the Office of Zaha Hadid architects 2007 finally prevailed in the year, went in the vertical and doubled the height of the existing building on a total of 46 m. Here Hadid and Schumacher relied on historical plans, which had provided for the former Firehouse a tower originally anyway.

A “tower” has 111 meters

Whether can actually be called building Tower, can also fight. With 111 m length it is good 50 m longer than the old building, including, with its 24 m width but narrower. At the southern end of the ship-like construct is flattened something, while distinctly restless reflect the water of port of the glass surfaces on the north side. Total building 6,200 m2, which takes up almost half of the 12,800 m2 of the complete administration building brings it.

External contrast is reflected also in the Interior: the historical part relies on clarity and precision, while the new floors in the upper part of swinging and modern come over. The view is spectacular in all directions as well as in the field of vision as the port is located. Bridges and elevators that connect both parts, also offers this panorama.

Use of natural light and water cooling

The glass surface is not completely transparent: some Windows are too opaque. The result is the deliberately troubled impression from the outside on one, at the same time it helps inside to dispense the sunlight. The whole building concept focuses on maximum use of daylight to avoid artificial light as much as possible.

At the same time, you must keep the heat budget at a glance. Here is water, which is pumped from 80 m depth at more than 100 locations throughout the building and heats depending on needs or cools. Sanitary fixtures in turn are so water-saving as possible applied. Space is also available for 190 25 electric cars and cyclists.

Spacious, open offices on the upper floors of the old can be found in two parts and there is also a canteen, meeting rooms and a lecture room 90 persons the lower floors of the new building. This concentration of community spaces in the broadest sense combines old and new, bringing together staff.

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