David Chipperfield Architects Berlin completed two residential towers as part of the redevelopment of the western quay of Antwerp’s historic Kattendijkdok. Antwerp has been one of the most important trading ports in Europe since the Middle Ages. Kattendijkdok was built in the mid-nineteenth century, and marked the starting point for the large-scale extension of Antwerp’s harbour. The area is characterised by a mix of large warehouses and small-scale residential buildings.
With the majority of the port’s functions now housed in the larger docks to the north, a masterplan was developed in 2002 to bring new life to the area. The plan upgrades the harbour area with the addition of residential and cultural buildings as well as public esplanades, which create a link to the historic city centre. Within this context six residential towers were planned along the western edge of Kattendijkdok. The presence of each individual tower is enhanced through its relationship to the overall ensemble. All towers have 15 floors, accommodating apartments of various sizes, as well as retail at ground floor level.
David Chipperfield Architects Berlin was appointed to design the two central towers. While both are characterised by a strong structural presence and uniform materiality, each tower has its own identity. Tower 3 to the south is given a horizontal emphasis by stacked projecting floor-plates, while Tower 4 is more monolithic in appearance. The alternation between the precast concrete panels, refined with white stone aggregate, and glazing give rhythm to the façades while stretched proportions emphasise the ground and uppermost floors. Colonnades on the entrance sides at ground-floor level provide generous, protected entry areas, leading to lobbies clad in walnut. The projecting floor slabs of Tower 3 create balconies on all sides, extending the living areas, while the Tower 4 apartments have loggias situated at the corners of the building. All the apartments enjoy sweeping views of the city, the harbour and the River Schelde.
Photo credits: Ute Zscharnt.