The architects have conceived a tree-like residential tower consisting of six units arranged around a green inner courtyard.
Construction of an apartment building with six residential units for the inner-city area, Antwerp, Belgium
IEA Import Export Architecture, Antwerp
D’Hulst Van Rymenant, Lier
AG Vespa – autonomous municipalcompany for real estate and urban projects in the city of Antwerp
LGJ Dakwerken, Westerlo
VHV glazed, three shades of green
Residential Building in Antwerp
Instead of constructing a traditional terraced house, the architects stacked six different typological layouts in a block adjacent to the street. The volumes are displaced horizontally with respect to one another and are crowned with a roof terrace. The result is a dynamic facade made up of interlocking volumes that the mind cannot absorb in just a single glance. The original idea of creating a vertical facade of greenery was quickly abandoned. Instead, the architects took photographs of the crown of a tree, which they then translated into suitable materials. The photo was blown up until the individual pixels could be seen. Exactly the same arrangement of pixels was then turned into a wall cladding by applying the pattern in three shades of green to glazed clay roof tiles. The architects‘ preference was for clay tiles because they wanted to use a material as a way of introducing a suburban element into the dense city centre context. The bark-like structure of the ground floor plinth, which is finished with brown facing bricks, extends the tree metaphor. The view of the city is provided by square window openings framed with coated aluminium, with the actual window being recessed. The positioning of each of these openings has been carefully considered, so that they act as frames for particular elements of the cityscape: a church tower perhaps, or an architecturally especially attractive building.
Todays’ buildings must meet the challenges of the future. A beautiful look is no longer sufficient, even though it might be spectacular.