Residential Tower in Antwerp, Belgium Skyscraper Development, Belgian Architecture
Residential Tower in Antwerp
Belgium Housing Project – design by C.F. Møller Architects + Brut Architecture and Urban Design
page updated 25 + 16 Nov 2016 with new images ; 30 Jul 2014
Antwerp Vertical Social Community
Design: C.F. Møller Architects + Brut Architecture and Urban Design
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Half of the flats are already sold, and now C.F. Møller’s multi-storey building, conceived as an elevated village, is appearing in Antwerp.
C.F. Møller has designed a 24-storey residential tower block in Antwerp’s Nieuw Zuid area on the river Schelde, with the aim of redefining the multi-storey block as a social, vertical community. The tower block breaks with the traditional multi-storey building trends, which isolate residents, since it is designed as a sustainable, collectively-oriented community in which social encounters are created using a wide range of architectural features.
“In classical multi-storey buildings it’s often a challenge to any sense of community that you only meet your neighbours in the lift or lobby. We wish to overturn this by renewing how we design residential tower blocks. This means that we have considered the building from within and outwards, with the social qualities driving the design,” says Lone Wiggers, partner and architect at C.F. Møller.
This seems to have been well-received by the Belgians, and half of the flats have now been sold.
The coming owners can look forward to living in a residential tower block that is characterised by diversity, and where social encounters are facilitated and promoted by a large number of measures, without sacrificing the need for a private life. The building e.g. includes many different types of housing for a varied mix of residents, from small shared flats suitable for students, to larger family homes and live-work homes, all grouped in dimensioned communities.
The tower has 24 storeys in total, an area of 15,000 m2 with 154 homes, as well as shops, office space and communal facilities. A light grid sub-divides the tower’s façades into smaller units with five flats’ private balconies, which are staggered in relation to each other. This gives a sense of intimate neighbourliness across the storeys, with the opportunity for both privacy and social interaction, as is known from traditional horizontal neighbourhoods. There is also 4,000 m2 of extra space comprising terraces, winter gardens and rooftop terraces, adding extra quality and helping to underline the building’s profile, from the large urban scale to the human scale.
The shared facilities for the entire tower block comprise a bicycle workshop, a laundry and a community room with a roof landscape on the fifth floor, which is shared by all residents.
C.F. Møller won the project for the residential tower block in Antwerp in an international competition held
in 2014, in cooperation with BRUT architects and ABT, and the lowest storeys are now being constructed. The video shows how the completed vertical village will look.
Client: Nieuw Zuid – Triple living
Address: Antwerp, Belgium
Scope: Flats, 15,000 sqm
Terraces and balconies, 5,500 sqm
Basement car park, 5,500 sqm
Residential Tower Antwerp
C.F. Møller Architects and Brut Architecture and Urban Design have won the competition for a new residential and mix-use tower in the Nieuw Zuid area in Antwerp, with a proposal that redefines the residential high-rise as a vertical social community.
The architectural idea of the building is derived from an inside-out perspective, where the social qualities of the building are a dominant driver for the design: Often in tall buildings, the sense of community amongst the occupants is challenged by the fact that you hardly ever meet your neighbours, except coming and going via the lobby and at the lifts.
In contrast, this design proposes to become a sustainable and collective community, where social interaction is enabled and encouraged in numerous ways without compromising the need for privacy. The proposal contains a large selection of apartments reaching out to a diverse group of inhabitants, from small types suitable for student co-housing to larger family and live-work types, all grouped into vertical mini-communities.
The development plan for Nieuw Zuid, a new urban area close to the river Schelde south of the historic centre of Antwerp, defined the outline and height of the tower. By increasing the efficiency of the floor plans, the proposal manages to create more space for the individual homes as well as attractive shared facilities within the same volume – summed up by the motto “Bigger & Cheaper”.
The 24 storey, 15.000 m2 complex with 116 homes, shops, offices and collective spaces is thus augmented by an extra 5.000 m2 in the form of balconies, glass winter gardens and roof terraces, adding extra living qualities and mediating the scale of the building between the urban and the human scale.
The result is a light grid enveloping the volume, structuring the facades and connecting the vertical mini-communities – every visible compartment represents a cluster of similar apartments opening towards the balcony spaces. At the end gables of the tower, the grid forms glass-enclosed winter gardens serving as green semi-outdoor living spaces, and the common spaces for all residents include a bike-repair and dining room at the foot of the tower, a shared 5th floor facility with a landscaped roof terrace for residents and office-workers alike, and a triple-height green oasis at the top with spectacular views over Antwerp and the river Schelde.
The building will be made of pleasant and durable materials; predominantly warm grey-brown brick contrasted by white concrete, and is designed to achieve the passive-house standard, thus altogether omitting the need for a central heating system. Great care is taken to mitigate the possible negative effects that tall buildings can have on the local microclimate, and to ensure a positive contribution at street level.
The jury report stated: “The jury was very impressed by the design. The architecture presents interesting proposals for how to strengthen the community and identity for the Nieuw Zuid towers, and how to unfold the sustainability ambitions. The design enables a new form of collective living in tall buildings, and makes its inner dynamics and diversity visible in the facades without sacrificing the overall expression. (.) The grid structure results in a slender and elegant architecture. The way the grid is subdivided and defines the smaller communities is fascinating.”
The client is SAZ (Stadsontwikkeling Antwerpen Zuid), and the team behind the winning design consists of C.F. Møller Architects and Brut Architecture and Urban Design, in collaboration with ABT, Deerns Technieken and Peritas EPB.
Residential Tower in Antwerp images / information from C.F. Møller & Brut
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