<Apartment Towers Westkaai 1 + 2, Antwerp, 2005–2009


As part of restructuring the Kattendijkdok, Antwerp is experiencing an expansion of its northern city limits. New residential buildings, business and leisure centers as well as new park areas are emerging between the former dock facilities lining the harbor basin. The two apartment towers, both 56m high, are visible from the city center; they are joined by four new apartment blocks that were built subsequently. As set out in the guidelines, the two buildings differ slightly from each other. Both towers have office and retail spaces on the first floor and 40 respectively 44 apartments on the floors above grouped around the central core. There are eleven different types of apartments (the smallest 70m2, the largest 360 m2) and each floor has one of seven distinct layouts, repeated respectively two to four times consecutively. There are more larger apartments located on the higher floors and more smaller ones on lower floors. The apartments open out onto loggias.

The towers are not perfectly aligned, but stand slightly displaced. The outer surface of the rectangular buildings shines with tremulous or flickering light that changes with the time of day and the weather situation, sometimes contrasting, sometimes complementing its surroundings. Windows with different sizes and shapes are grouped together and cut from the building’s outer skin made of ripple glass and aluminum sheet metal. The arrangement of the rooms inside the building is made apparent outside by the grouping of the windows. The façade’s seemingly random appearance is the result of the systematic combination of the different types of apartments.

Aluminum frames enclose the five different kinds of windows. The opaque elements of the façade between the windows consist of three layers: thermal insulation, sheet metal panels, and rippled glass; the rippled glass is mounted in front of the panels, separated by a small gap. The elements are fastened using a profile clamping system, with the window elements being held together by an aluminum frame.

Date: 2005—2009
Client: NV Kattendijkdok, Project²
Location: Westkaai 41 (Tower 1) + 51 (Tower 2), Antwerpen, Belgium
Gross Floor Area (GFA): 6.400 m² per tower above ground
Use / Function: 84 condominiums, commercial space on ground floor, 2 basement floors for underground parking and storage rooms, Tower 1: 40 apartments, Tower 2: 44 apartments
Structural Engineer: Stedec NV
Mechanical Engineer: Arcadis Gedas
Landscape Architect: Michel Desvigne Paysagiste

Diener 0817-ANT Westkaai-Apartment-Buildings Antwerp P5919-0491
Diener 0817-ANT Westkaai-Apartment-Buildings Antwerp P5919-0494
Diener 0817-ANT Westkaai-Apartment-Buildings Antwerp P5919-0492
Diener 0817-ANT Westkaai-Apartment-Buildings Antwerp P5919-0495
Diener 0817-ANT Westkaai-Apartment-Buildings Antwerp D D  WAP LAGEPLAN 10-03-30-Model 2
Diener 0817-ANT Westkaai-Apartment-Buildings Antwerp P5919-0377R 2
Diener 0817-ANT Westkaai-Apartment-Buildings Antwerp P5919-0383R 2