The stunningly bold architecture of the new Havenhuis, Antwerpen

There are a few very important symbols that Antwerp can be proud. Antwerp is glorified as the city of diamonds, of international port trade and as the city of world-renowned painters born or lived here through the centuries! Quite recently, a new architectural "chef-d'œuvre" shines like huge polished diamond at the port of Antwerpen - the second largest port in Europe, where annually are processed over 15,000 foreign and 60,000 inland merchant ships. The port of Antwerp handles about 26% (one-quarter) of the European freight-container flow, and this annually accounts for over 200 million tonnes merchandises. A few months ago, the Antwerpen Port Authority moved to the new Havenhuis (Antwerp Port House) with an impressive architectural vision.

This iconic building for the city of diamond fame Antwerp is one of Zaha Hadid Architects' latest architectural works and personally of the woman-architect with an unique architectural style Zaha Hadid. Unfortunately, she left this world just a few months before seeing completely finished this architectural brilliant - the new Havenhuis in Antwerpen. Born in Iraq, The Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid (1950 - 2016) is a British architect who has created some of the most amazing architectural projects in different places around the world illustrating her specific author style as if the endless curve line that almost miraculously sculpts the stunning architectural volumes in complete harmony with the environment. In almost complete escape from traditional straight geometric lines and forms! That's why she's called the "Queen of the Curve"! She is the first woman to receive the prestigious prize which is awarded to the best architects – the American Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. In two consecutive years, in 2010 and 2011, the remarkable achievements in domain of the architecture and design bring to Zaha Hadid a new high recognition, and she receives the British's most prestigious architectural award - the Stirling Prize. In 2012, Zaha Hadid was produced in a knighthood as "Dame" by Queen Elizabeth II, for her Architectural Merit to the British Crown. In 2015 she became the first woman to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Many of her projects around the world are currently under construction, including the Al-Wakrah Stadium for the future 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar.

The new port office building in Antwerp became the exclusive working place for 500 employees and workers from the beginning of September, 2016. The unusual new Havenhuis is an extremely bold combination of a new hyper-modern part, standing as a ship aspired to the faraway coasts, over the building with nearly 100-year history that was the former city fire station of Antwerp. Built in 1922 on the project by architect Emiel Van Averbeke, the former fire-station is now completely renovated and adapted to its new function and looks amazing harmoniously as an unshakable fundament with the futuristic look of the new architecture over it, that seems as arrived from the future. The new Antwerp Port House is placed above the base building of the old fire station through two main concrete columns which contain stairs and lifts. One of them has been exported outside and the second one is located in an huge inner foyer. There are several additional supporting sloping beams in the interior part. On the outer concrete column, at a certain height, there is an outdoor terrace, which opens a panoramic view to the harbor and the city. The interior spaces overflow into a variety of shapes and volumes, creating an incredible atmosphere and a sense of supermodernity.

The start of the project for the construction of the port authorities's new headquarters begins in 2009. The extremely responsible work was assigned to the renowned London based Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), in which they took part large team of professionals with a prestigious international reputation, and Bureau Bouwtechniek as executive architects. Start of construction was put in October 2012, the completion of the construction and finishing works was scheduled for July 2016. In August 2016, the preliminary opening of the new architectural miracle took place. The official opening of the Antwerpen port's new building was on September 22, 2016. There has been executed a tremendous amount of work on the preliminary research of the terran, design, construction, electro-engineering and finishing operations with a colossal final result: total built-up area: ± 20,800 m² (including 12,800 m² above ground; 6,200 m² in the new extension); 8,000 m² underground parking with parking places for 190 bicycles; 25 electric car parking/charging spaces. Dimensions of the new corpus: 111m Length; 24m Width; 21m Height. The total budget amounts to about € 50 million (€ 50,000,000).

The unique architectural concept of the new extension is based on a fully glass facade made up of multiple triangular glass elements which contribute to the optical refraction and reflection of sunlight and to reflection of light from the water surfaces around, making this way expressive gleams of all colors and tones from the sunlight's spectrum.The avant-garde glass volume turns into a brilliant and an inspiring pattern for top architectural achievement and undoubtedly will be one of the bright symbols of the city of Antwerp in the future times, combining in oneself creativity, culture, technologies and thought of the future!

Address: Havenhuis, Zaha Hadidplein 1, 2030 Antwerpen, Belgium.
Photos: personal archive.

Related images

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Port House (Havenhuis) in Antwerpen, Belgium, Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)l

Antwerpen Port House (Havenhuis), Design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), detail

Related links

https://vimeo.com/49828384

http://www.interbuild.be/projects/nieuw-havenhuis/

http://www.portofantwerp.com/nl/het-havenhuis-een-nieuwe-thuis-voor-een-wereldhaven