White housing

Reconversion office building to residential apartments

Archi­tecture Interior design

City life Reconversion and renovation

With the reconstruction of the Antwerp Leien and the Operaplein, the 19th and 20th century boulevard has undergone a metamorphosis. A combination of office buildings and residential apartments alternated. It is mainly the recent buildings from the last century that are empty and require adapted refurbishment. This was also the case for the late-modernist office building from 1968 with a new facade from 2002 that VIVA Architecture redesigned into residential apartments.

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Due to the preliminary feasibility study (2005) by VIVA Architecture, the building with a concrete column structure and rib floor, and infill facade with glass and aluminum proved to be quite reusable and flexible.

We opted to keep the stairs and the elevator in the same place in the constructive structure. A smart plan with a good mix of studios, two and one-room apartments with a total of 23 homes spread over 7 floors, 2 roof apartments and an office on the ground floor, was drawn up. Other strategic and sustainable choices for reuse were the preservation of the basement, the fire escape, the stairwells and part of the rear facade.

The ground floor was reserved for commercial use. This space runs through the entire building and was expanded with a light wooden structure at the height of the courtyard.

VIVA Architecture also designed a new facade in line with the residential function. The terraces that extend along the entire width of the facade enhance the graphic character of the facade. For the residents, they offer an open view over the wide boulevard – the windows can be opened completely.

For durability and in response to the obligatory use of stone-like material, VIVA Architecture opted for natural stone and aluminum.

All components of the facade: wall panels, window frames, railings, ... are white and this was a conscious choice. This makes the building appear neutral and light, yet distinguishes itself in the long row of facades of buildings on the Leien. It is a contemporary interpretation of 19th century white plastered facades typical of Antwerp's city centre, which was then called the "white city".

The white color of the facade is continued in the extension of the ground floor. Because we wanted to emphasize the quality of this completely enclosed white outdoor space, it was also used as an inner garden. As a result, we also created a high-quality view at the rear of the building. All apartments also have a deep terrace on this side, with an attractive urban view with the Central Station and the renovated 'Antwerp Tower' as eye-catchers.

Location : Antwerp
Area : 3.625 m²
Date : 2015 - 2019
Client : Brody
Photography : Koen Broos

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