Petrol Blue cabin Petrol Antwerp
Onderstation Petrol Antwerpen - titel

Petrol Antwerp

noAarchitecten

Antwerp, / Generaal Armstrongweg

2004 – 2009

 

Petrol

A monumental building near the Scheldt of which almost nobody knows what it represents. It has always fascinated me, especially now that we can see it from our apartment. I hear more and more rumors that the building would disappear, so I thought it was time to find out more about this petroleum blue construction.

Petroleum Zuid

The most striking is the petroleum blue color. The color is, according to the architects, a reference to the industrial past of this area. Petroleum Zuid was once here: in 1898, the base of the European petroleum industry was built here, at the Scheldt in southern Antwerp. During the Second World War the area was largely destroyed and afterwards the petroleum industry moved to the port area in the north of Antwerp.

For the rest, the building has nothing to do with petroleum, but with electricity. Distributor Elia is the owner of this substation where the electricity supplied under high voltage is transformed into current of less high voltage that is distributed to other distribution points. The building therefore needs no windows, but it does have a few holes for ventilation.

noAarchitecten

noAarchitecten is an architectural firm founded in 2000, with around 15 people who mainly concentrate on public buildings. They often work together with artists.

The architects chose to stack the technical installations so that the building got a total height of 23 meters, a beacon on the Scheldt. Elia choose not to have a logo on the outside, which gives the building an even greater mystery. In contrast, the building leans slightly towards the quay, like a bunker on the beach.

The volume is made of concrete cast in situ. Unplaned formwork planks create a rough surface with unpronounced horizontal lines at the places where the concrete mixture was able to leak out; this traditional method of building counterbalances the high-tech content. An expressive depression in the front façade and a grid of small holes in the rear façade make for natural ventilation of the interior.

Petrol

 

noAarchitecten

Antwerp, / Generaal Armstrongweg

2004 – 2009 

This article first appeared on my other site about architecture in and around Antwerp: archiplore.

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