Felix Pauwels / Robbrecht & Daem
Antwerp, Oude Leeuwenrui 29
1858 + 1861 / 1999-2006
The Sint Felix warehouse was founded in 1858 by François Pauwels’ firm, his brother was an architect and was allowed to design the warehouse. The warehouses were given a name in that time, easy to remember for suppliers and dock workers. Felix was the first name of the architect, but it also means prosperity, happiness. Yet luck was not granted to them, 3 years after its creation, it was largely destroyed by fire. There were a total of 19 deaths, including the architect Mr. Pauwels. Recuperation material was used for the reconstruction. The building was divided into two by a hallway, alias the loading and unloading corridor, and firebreaks were also created on the sides. In 1895 there was also a collapse in which 815 new wooden columns were placed as extra reinforcement.
The port moved more and more northwards and the building became empty. It was classified as a monument in 1976, so it could not be demolished. In 1999 the ideal solution was found: to house the city archive. Containers with adapted climate control for the documents of the archive, are placed on the floors. There is 36km of storage space. On the top floor, under the roof, are the reading room and meeting rooms. To bring in light, steel and glass patios have been created. The sloping roofs, floor and some walls are covered with oak panels, so that you get an intimate tent structure.
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