Giving Zaha a hard contest

a2o-architecten + Atelier Kempe Thill
Friday 13 Feb 2009

a2o-architecten and Atelier Kempe Thill made a strong impression

a2o-architecten (Hasselt - Belgium) and Atelier Kempe Thill (Rotterdam - Netherlands) participated at the design contest for the new harbour building for the port of Antwerp. They were selected together with 4 other international architects offices like Vier Architectos (Spain), Zaha Hadid Architects (Great Brittan), Xaveer de Geyter architects (Belgium) and RAPP+RAPP (Netherlands).

It was Zaha Hadid who eventually won the competition with her bold design but a2o-architecten and Atelier Kempe Thill made a strong effort and were hard to beat.

The new harbour building is one of those buildings that give the city of Antwerp a strong expression. It has an international part to play. With its roots in the history of the city it has to point out to the future. The extension that a2o-architecten/Atelier Kempe Thill designed on top of the existing building is an architectural icon for the harbor but it also connects with the city centre and engages a dialogue without repressing the historical context.

The design of the new building is literally the mirror-image of the existing. It is like a crown. It puts old and new in a severe dialogue. It confirms and underlines the footprint. The internal organization of the design is superefficient and flexible.

The costs for the realization of the design from a2o-architecten/Atelier Kempe Thill lie completely within the budget and is 9,000,000 euro’s less expensive than the winning design.

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