With constant references to the Scheldt, the city of Antwerp and the dynamics of its port, married with the successful renovation and reuse of a redundant fire station - integrating it as a fully-fledged part of its headquarters - the new Port House, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects' will serve the port well through its planned expansion over future generations.
The new Port House brought together the port’s 500 staff that previously worked in separate buildings around the city. Like the bow of a ship, the new extension points towards the Scheldt, connecting the building with the river on which Antwerp was founded. Surrounded by water, the new extension's façade is a glazed surface that ripples like waves and reflects the changing tones and colours of the city’s sky. Triangular facets allow the apparently smooth curves at either end of the building to be formed with flat sheets of glass. They also facilitate the gradual transition from a flat façade at the south end of the building to a rippling surface at the north.
Marc Van Peel, president of the Port of Antwerp: “The architectural style of the original building, a replica of the former Hansa House, recalls the 16th century, Antwerp's ‘golden century’. But now above this original, a contemporary structure in shining glass has been built, which I am sure, represents a new golden century for Antwerp.”