Antwerp Port Authority HQ, Architecture, Architect, Project, Belgian Office Design News

Antwerp Port Authority Headquarters, Belgium

Belgian Headquarters Building design by Zaha Hadid Architects

20 Jan 2009

Antwerp Port Authority Headquarters Design Proposal

Antwerp Port House Development

The design team from Zaha Hadid Architects proposed a very dynamic architecture that strikes up a dialogue with the Oosterweel road link, with the Lange Wapper bridge1 forming a backdrop to the New Port House. With its unique design, its facade architecture and its height of 46 metres, the new Port Authority will be an iconic building, visible from many different directions.

The concept is a free interpretation of a beam-shaped volume raised above the existing fire brigade building and supported on three sculptured concrete pillars housing the stairs and lifts. Two of the pillars are situated on the covered inner courtyard of the firehouse, while the third is located beside an external support point and consists of a panoramic lift shaft.

The new volume is oriented North-South parallel to the Kattendijk dock. The head of the building on the South side is a frame that looks towards the city and clearly marks the start of the port area.
The outside walls are made up of glass triangles, some transparent and some reflecting. These do not all lie in the same plane but are rotated slightly with respect to one another, creating an attractive reflecting play of incoming light in a reference to Antwerp’s diamond industry.

The present firehouse will be kept free of building all around, so that the four outside walls will be fully respected. As for the arrangement of the inside spaces, consultations will be held with Flanders Real Estate Heritage and the Monuments department of the City of Antwerp to determine whether open-plan offices (as laid down in the schedule of requirements) are possible, either partly of throughout.

The inner courtyard will be roofed over at the height of the second story so as to create an enclosed interior space. This central entrance hall will be considered as a semi-public space, with various enquiry desks (Personnel department, Harbourmaster’s Office, Planning Permission & Environment Permit office and Port Dues payment desk) integrated in the inside wall portals.

A sculptural, sloping roof unites an underground lobby with the covered inner court. Access to the underground car park is an important aspect of the overall concept, with the loading & unloading bays and the refuse handling facilities also located here.

The car park has space for 300 or so cars and consists of a single underground level. The design of the square can be arranged so that daylight is allowed to enter. The above-ground layout forms part of a design project that is being carried out in consultation with the city departments responsible, with the main imperative being to “preserve the visual quality of the outside spaces in the Het Eilandje area.”

The open plan offices are indeed very open, so that office staff will have a great impression of space with a view along the various outside walls. The concept for the open plan office also allows for small areas in which to hold meetings, along with separate study offices.

Antwerp Port House : main page on this Zaha Hadid building in Belgium
Antwerp Port House
picture from ZHA

Antwerp, Jan 2009

The new Port House, Antwerp, Belgium

Zaha Hadid Architects

The Antwerp Port Authority will build its new headquarters – the future Port House – on the boundary between the city of Antwerp and its harbour.

The new Antwerp Port Authority headquarters will house approximately 500 staff (currently working in separate buildings) in a single new building that comprises a former fire station and the new extension.
From a central lobby, which also operates as an exhibition space, staff and visitors have direct access to the public counters, offices and meeting rooms in the refurbished fire station, whilst the offices, meeting rooms, auditorium and panoramic restaurant in the new extension are also accessed directly from this central lobby.

In total the new Port House design is 12,800m2 (gross): 6,600m2 in the refurbished Fire Station, and 6,200m2 in the extension. The maximum dimensions of the new building extension are 111m length, 24m width and 46m height (5 additional floors).

The new Port House design consists of two entities: the existing fire station and a new crystalline volume lifted above the retained building. Together they form an impressive new landmark as the headquarters of the Antwerp Port Authority, overlooking the city and port, and symbolizing Antwerp as a port of global importance and a major economic driver of region.

The new extension is positioned asymmetrically over the central glazed courtyard of the existing fire station, allowing light to enter the heart of the building. The extension is supported by three sculpted concrete pillars that house the stairs and lifts. Two of the pillars land on the ground within the courtyard, while the third lands outside the existing building and houses a panoramic lift shaft.

The new building’s volume is enclosed by articulated surfaces that have a façade of glass and aluminium panels, reflecting the surroundings during the day and transforming into a radiating crystal at night. The panels do not all lie in the same plane but are rotated slightly with respect to one another, reflecting light from these facets – a reference to Antwerp’s diamond industry.

Antwerp Port House Competition
Invited competition, organised by the Flemish Government Architect.

1st Prize: Zaha Hadid Architects

Other Competitors:
Xaveer De Geyter Architects bvba
Rapp+Rapp bv
Vier Arquitectos sl
A2O architecten

Start Competition: June 2008
Submission date: September 2008
Decision: January 2009

Antwerp Port House Jury: Marcel Smets (head of Jury)
Kristiaan Borret
Marc Van Peel
Eddy Bruyninckx
Greet Bernaers
Sigrid Fruytier
Maarten Schmitt

Zaha Hadid Architects
Design: Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
Project Architect: Joris Pauwels
Project Team: Kristof Crolla, Sebastien Delagrange, Paulo Flores, Daniel Santos, Lulu Aldihani

Local Architect: Bureau Bouwtechniek
Structural Engineers: Studieburo Mouton bvba
Services Engineers: Ingenium nv & Daidalos Peutz

Antwerp Port Authority Headquarters images / information from Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid

Location: Antwerp, Belgium

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