The Port House – Antwerp Belgium
Up to now, when I was thinking of Antwerp, I mainly had diamonds and the overseas port in my mind. Now, above all, I associate the Port House with this city.
The seat of the Port Authority, completed in 2016, is an absolute architectural highlight. Not surprisingly, it quickly became the city’s new landmark. It almost seems as if a spaceship had landed on the roof of the former historical fire station.
The joint design by Zaha Hadid and Patrick Schumacher is a successful symbiosis of old and new. Their architectural design won very rightly the competition launched by the city in 2008.
Several urban planning references are taken up: The facade of the old fire station was preserved as a historical reference. Location and orientation of the building refer to the city and the harbour basin. The dynamic shape of the new building section is reminiscent of a ship’s hull with a pointed bow. The facetted glass façade reminds of a cut diamond and reflects the harbour and its surroundings a hundredfold. Also inside the two parts of the building merge into one. Transitions appear flowing and harmonious. Everything appears to me very well thought out and like a well-functioning organism.For me, the Port House is an architectural masterpiece. Therefore, I can only recommend a visit to anyone interested in architecture.