Hemixveer Housing Antwerp
newly built houses, apartments, masterplan, RUP support & allocation plan
From the Middle Ages, the Scheldt river bank south of Antwerp evolved into a productive industrial area until the end of the 20th century, when old industries fell into decline. Recently, however, a renewed interest in this distinctive area has led to a general revival. The Baroque-style St. Bernard's Abbey, for instance, has been partly renovated and transformed into a cultural centre with a park. North of the abbey, between the Scheldt river and a former municipal recreation area, POLO Architects is transforming a former brownfield into a new residential cluster for the town of Hemiksem.
The unique spatial planning context of the wider surroundings includes four overlapping zones: a semi-public stretch of woodland, residential areas, a water body, and the Scheldt river bank. The significant differences in elevation organise the site in a transparent and visible way. This results - literally and metaphorically - in a terrain with an interesting 'profile'.
Seven building volumes, placed perpendicular to the river, make use of this interesting rhythm provided by the master plan. A well-considered play of staggering building heights and facades ensures that a feeling of repetition is avoided. Striking cantilevers reinforce the appearance of the various volumes towards the Scheldt river and make sure that the project does not manifest itself as a monolith.
In contrast to the sober and stately volumes, the presence of a unique 'deck' gives the ensemble a royal charisma. The deck serves as a semi-public esplanade and an access road to the apartment buildings. In addition, it covers the open car park. On the deck level, the building volumes are sporadically suspended in order to afford lateral views and to allow the woods to penetrate into the residential area through the patios and inner courtyards.
SCHELDEBOORD AND SCHELDEAKKER
The first building complex is located in the lower part of the project area near Scheldeboord. Three entities are stacked on top of each other: an open carport, a residential quarter and the housing blocks. Thanks to the raised ground floor and the strategic positioning of the various buildings, every volume has an unobstructed view over the Scheldt river or the restored woodlands.
The second building complex is situated in the upper part of the site, along the existing Scheldeakker. This area is conceived as a residential quarter with single-family homes. Besides south-facing gardens, these homes offer wide views on the Scheldt river thanks to their strategic position. The building complex is supported by a green base that seamlessly blends into the woodlands.
For the choice of materials, the site's historic heritage was analysed; the light facades are a reference to the former clay extraction. The use of natural-coloured concrete gives the project a modest appearance.
The building complexes are not closed housing blocks, but rather volumes integrated into the existing landscape with its intrinsic qualities and contrasts. Bridges connect the project to the Scheldt riverside on the one hand and to the park across the pond on the other hand.
The park area connects with the abbey and was designed as a semi-public environment that serves as a pleasant filter between the residential area and the public road. A water feature marks the transition between the park area and the residential area.
photography: Vooruitzicht - Frame24 - Van Laere / Artitec Fotografie
Site Bekaert, Scheldestraat / Schelleakker, Hemiksem
Fris in het Landschap