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Port House, Antwerp shortlisted for the Architectural Review ‘New into Old’ awards

The Architectural Review awards programme commends design excellence and innovation, acknowledging leading-edge projects from around the world.

Celebrating transformative design, the ‘New into Old’ awards recognise the successful adaptation of original architecture to contemporary functions as well as the varied remodelling strategies, such as innovative insertions, that make imaginative reuse possible.

Port House in Antwerp repurposes, renovates and extends a derelict fire station into a new headquarters, connecting the city with the vital activities of its port.

With 12km of docks handling 26% of Europe’s container shipping, Antwerp is the continent’s second largest port with ambitious targets for future expansion to meet the Europe’s growth over the next century.

Working with heritage consultants Origin, ZHA’s historic analysis of the fire station revealed its unrealised tower. Port House is a composition of a new volume that ‘floats’ above the old building, respecting the each of the existing facades and completing the verticality of the original design’s unrealised tower. The new extension points towards the city, connecting Antwerp with the port on which it was founded.

Surrounded by water, the new extension’s façade is a glazed surface that ripples like waves and reflects the changing tones and colours of the city’s sky. This perception of a transparent volume, cut to give the new building its sparkling appearance, reinterprets Antwerp’s moniker as the city of diamonds.

With constant references to the River Scheldt, the city of Antwerp and the dynamics of its port, married with the successful renovation and reuse of a redundant fire station–wholly integrating it as part of its headquarters–the new Port House will serve the port well through its planned expansion over future generations.

Architectural Review ‘New Into Old’ awards

Port House video by Schueco

Photograph © BoriannBe