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Masterplan for a new public park and exhibition center in Antwerp

Year ︎︎︎ 2021
Phase ︎︎︎ Competition
Client ︎︎︎ AG Vespa

The dry docks site in the North of Antwerp’s centre is a witness to
the different faces of the Antwerp harbour and its relation to the city,
containing buildings and infrastructure from all periods since 1850.
Still in use for the repairs of certain vessels, the site is also occupied by
several other more-or-less permanent communal functions. Its ateliers
are used for the eduction of underpriviliged youth, there are several
social and commercial restaurants, and its dock edges and halls form
the playground of the anarchistic ‘Stormkop’, a youth organisation with
its roots in theatre and urban culture. Occasional festivals and events
are organised on the site, while the harbour master also still has its
offices there. The site scattered with artefacts, from anchours and
buoys to complete ship hulls.

By repurposing the site as a “maritime experience site”, the city wants to
give all these more-or-less self-organised functions a permanent base,
and add a harbour centre to the mix. The historical ‘pump house’ will be
restored and used as a event hall. The site should be made accessible
for different users: school children, famillies, tourists, and profesionnals.
Finally the dry doks will remain in fonction, for the restoration of
historical vessels, as a kind of living maritime museum. One challenge
is keeping the current character of a living, mineral and “unorganised”
playground while simultaneously making it accessible and safe. The
puzzle of who goes where without stepping on each others toes is
another one. The result is a nuanced masterplan, maintaining as much
as possible the existing qualities, and the new harbour centre as a
landmark in line with the other harbour monuments: the MAS and the

Team ︎︎︎ ALTSTADT icw NU architectuuratelier, Burolandschap, IDEA Consult, UTIL structuurstudies