Zaha Hidid, was an Iraqi-born British architect. She was described by the The Guardian of London as the ‘Queen of the curve’. Her major works include the aquatic centre for the London 2012 Olympics, Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum in the US, and the Guangzhou Opera House in China. Some of her designs have been presented posthumously, including our Port House.
The new Port House repurposes, renovates and extends a derelict fire station into a new headquarters for the port – bringing together the port’s 500 staff that previously worked in separate buildings around the city.
As an Antwerp inhabitant, it feels a bit shameful to tell you that it took me more than one year to get up close and personal with this new architectural masterpiece.
But when I did, boy did I like it. This building is a true masterpiece. Interesting from every angle.
So let’s start with the least obvious one. I approached the Port House via the harbour and I liked this point of view immediately. How this ‘boat’-shaped piece peeks out above these old building. Just Luv it!
Marc Van Peel, president of the Port of Antwerp, said: “There was only one rule laid down in the architectural competition, namely that the original building had to be preserved. There were no other requirements imposed for the positioning of the new building. The jury was therefore pleasantly surprised when the five shortlisted candidates all opted for a modern structure above the original building. They all combined the new with the old, but the design by Zaha Hadid Architects was the most brilliant.”
I’m happy that the one rule was respected by the architects. Antwerp has lost enough beautiful old buildings. It would be such a shame that this one would have disappeared also.
Up close and personal
So after I crossed the water, I went all up close and personal on this building.