Antwerp, Belgium has a new Port Authority building called the Havenhuis. The building was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects with a customized project.
It resembles the shape of a seagoing vessel and has an innovative, reflective façade using LED lighting. Internally, the solid-state lighting (SSL) project, based on a lighting system integrated in the ceiling offers a creative answer to the absence of right angles.
The focus of the lighting scheme was to emphasise the architectural experience but also to create a comfortable working environment throughout the building.
A mixture of old and new
The Havenhuis is a mixture of old and new architecture that looks something like a modern ship sitting upon a pedestal. The mixtures of glass panelling on the exterior of the structure provides a dynamic nature to the architectural merge, emphasising the contrast between the modern glass and the traditional stone.
The base of the building is a rectangular structure. The new building houses a restaurant where visitors can enjoy a view of the Antwerp port along with office space for around 500 workers.
The stunning façade
Surrounded by water, the new glazed façade of plain and curved glass reflects the sea and the sky. The historic and the modern combine with the new structure hovering over the existing building which served for many years as a fire station. The dynamic nature of the glass structure contrasts with the box shape of the building below but still are connected in their function.
While most of the triangular facets of the façade are transparent, some are opaque. This calibrated mix ensures sufficient sunlight within the building, while also controlling solar load to guarantee optimal working conditions. At the same time, the alternation of transparent and opaque breaks down the volume of the new extension.