“Het Eilandje” is a unique area in the urban nature of Antwerp. This area is part of the city centre, but it has a variety of characteristics that makes it different compared to other districts. The relation between developed and undeveloped space is reversed here: most of the outside space consists of docks that form the squares of this area. This large-scale dock system formed the orthogonal structure of “Het Eilandje”, irrespective of the scale and concentric structure of Antwerp’s city centre. This part is strongly connected to the Scheldt because of these large-scale docks.
The design brief demanded for a design that houses three different functions. From the analysis and the studies it was concluded that in this particular part of Antwerp the needs for housing, offices and a restaurant were most urgent. In order to accomplish these needs, a new version of the urban masterplan was written together with Wouter Habets and Jorg de Bie. To make the area more lively and in order to connect to the city centre a new “quay-route” was developed. This route would lead from the MAS museum following a U-form around the dock; from one potential area on the north west to two potential area’s in the east and north east.
The chosen form of the design should symbolize the landmark at the bank were the Scheldt follows a sharp curve. The bridge between the higher and lower tower links back to the period this urban area was in full bloom filled with shipyards and docks. Not only the form relates to the history of the area, but also the chosen material (large exterior structure forming a truss by rounded columns of steel).
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