The new Port House design consists of two entities: a former fire station and a new crystalline volume lifted above the retained building. Together they form an impressive new landmark as the headquarters of the Antwerp Port Authority, overlooking both the city and the port.
The building will house approximately 500 staff and it is organised around a central atrium from where public counters, offices and meeting rooms in the existing building are directly accessible. The offices, auditorium and panoramic restaurant in the new extension are accessible via panoramic lifts just off the central courtyard.
The new extension is positioned asymmetrically over the central courtyard of the existing building, allowing light to enter the heart of the project. The extension is supported by two sculpted concrete pillars that house stairs and lifts. Within the building, offices are open plan, creating a powerful sense of space but also providing discreet meeting and breakout areas.
The new building’s volume is enclosed by an articulated glass surface: a diamond shaped design with the facade panels rotated slightly with respect to one another. In reference to Antwerp’s diamond industry the building thereby reflects the surroundings during the day while transforming into a radiating crystal at night.