Alexis Van Mechelen en Emiel Van Averbeke /
Zaha Hadid architects
Antwerp, Zaha Hadidplein 1
1912 – 1922 / 2012 – 2016
When I was planning the new blog posts, I was surprised to see that I had not written a single post about the new port house. While this is one of my favorites. I have already written several news items on my other blog archixplore: such as the construction of the building and the fire station. All the photos here are from the opening in September 2016. So a while ago … I was invited because I was allowed to organize guided tours during the construction phase for a specialized audience, such as architects and engineers. It was super fun to see the building grow. It is also an interesting building in terms of construction, both in steel and concrete. Because we have two top buildings in Antwerp within walking distance, I have also developed the ‘Concrete in northern Antwerp’ tour, which also covers the church ship.
The new port house is an office building for 500 employees of the port of Antwerp. The lower part is a building from 1922: a fire station. A large building that was largely vacant in recent years. The fire brigade had moved to Noorderlaan, more in today’s port. It was a protected monument and almost nothing was changed in the change of function. The drying tower is still recognizable, this is now the connection between the old and the new part with four glass elevators. The construction sections for the new building are the concrete front leg, a concrete column in the atrium (inner courtyard) and four steel columns, also in the atrium.
The superstructure is made up of glass triangles. On the harbor side this is very dynamic as a reference to the facets of a diamond. An important product for Antwerp, because more than 80% of the rough diamonds come through Antwerp. There was no reference to a ship as many now see it. The architects say that if people want to see it, that’s good. While I was able to discuss it a lot in the beginning :o) The basis of the superstructure is steel, which are supplied in modules per ship. You can find a video clip on this page.
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