India-Natie Housing + Offices Antwerp
newly built houses, apartments, offices & commercial development
Eight architecture firms are desigining a residential block in the Eilandje neighbourhood in Antwerp with an indirect, yet recognisable uniformity without disregarding a strong individual identity. This collective housing project meets the Passive House Standard.
The residential block is part of the new urban development in the Eilandje neighbourhood, a former port district with a - historically developed - versatile and obstinate character. Given the liveliness of the city and the port, the area’s redevelopment aims to achieve a mix of functionalities: ground-floor homes, apartments with large balconies and penthouses with panoramic views are interspersed with spaces for shops, hospitality, self-employed activities and offices.
‘Legally’ speaking, the housing block consists of a northern section (India-Natie) and a southern section (Kaai 37), carried out by two project developers; in reality, the building is a coherent ensemble that takes the shape of a classic closed housing block that blends seamlessly into the characteristic style of the neighbourhood. The individual buildings that make up the housing block also follow historic, local models: in terms of scale, they stick closely to the headquarters of the old ‘natie’ corporations; alternating larger and smaller buildings. This typological diversity is reflected in the programming of the different structures.
The housing block’s diversity is also expressed in its architecture: POLO Architects, PULS architects, Vermeiren - De Coster Architects and cuypers & Q architects each designed an element for the northern section, while META architectural firm, architects de vylder vinck taillieu, noAarchitecten, OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen all designed a section of the southern half. At the heart of the residential block is a communal inner garden designed by West 8.
"This way, we also managed to find a delicate balance between indivivuality and cohesion at the visual level, within the outlines of the master plan." – Michiel Verhaverbeke, director POLO Architects
The Madras office building designed by POLO Architects - on the corner of the housing block - consists of a support structure in reinforced concrete that provides long-term spatial flexibility. Only the facades and cores are load-bearing, creating large, column-free floor spaces. By using light partition walls and customised techniques, the building can easily be adapted to future needs without extensive renovation work. The selected facade modules are highly functional for office settings and look very attractive.
"The result is a balanced ensemble with vertical articulation, in reference to the historical warehouse architecture. It constitutes a uniform group of distinctive structures in the vast and unruly context of the old port." – Michiel Verhaverbeke, director POLO Architects
photography: Matthias Vanhoutteghem
Madrasstraat / Piraeusstraat / Binnenvaartstraat, Antwerp
Urban Estates & Kumpen RED
PULS architecten - Vermeiren - De Coster Architecten - cuypers & Q architecten - West 8
winning competition design