Text description provided by the architects. Zuiderzicht is one of the eight high-rise volumes positioned at diverse spots within the master plan by Studio Associates Secchi-Viganò for Antwerp Nieuw Zuid. The project’s position is strategic: while close to the river and within green public spaces designed by Bas Smets, you are only 3 minutes away from Antwerp's center. With its bright colour and open appearance, the Zuiderzicht tower fits with Antwerp's tradition of white, layered, tectonic high-rises such as the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral, the art deco style KBC-tower and the Police tower, and others.
The 21.082 m2 building consists of five layers at its base, including a hotel with 108 rooms, on top a 25-storey tower with 134 dwellings, and below parking on two underground levels. Plinth and tower form one coherent building volume. The architectural concept for Zuiderzicht is characterised by a wide variety of housing types for different user groups: young families, seniors, co-housers, singles, and working couples. The apartments are compact and efficiently organised around a central core, designed with flexible floor plan layouts, and constructed with a load bearing facade. This flexibility allows for combining units to create larger residences and for adapting to changing needs in the future.
'Our concept interprets the qualities of the typical Belgian house,’ says Han van den Born, architect and former partner of KCAP. ‘All apartments are surrounded by a white concrete structure designed as a double-height grid. Each owner has the opportunity to choose from a range of design options to individually use this added outdoor space that evolves between the isolated façade and the concrete grid. Think of balconies, glazed terraces, and roof terraces.' On the ground level, duplex units contribute to accommodating the variety of residents and housing types. ‘The duplex units all have a front door and outdoor space on ground level, creating a lively transition and connection to the public space. This is an exceptional quality within a high-rise concept,’ explains Han van den Born.
Those different outdoor spaces are a contemporary reinterpretation of the Belgian ‘veranda’ and were designed as pleasant extensions of the living spaces to enjoy extra surface, light, and the beautiful views of Antwerp, the River Scheldt, and the surrounding countryside. The combination of differing floor plans with the individual infills of the surrounding grid results in a versatile range of apartments and a layered and impactful image to the outside.
The staggered shape of the tower supports the volume’s increasing slenderness to the top, and at the same time provides spacious elevated terraces on the upper levels. A double-height passage in the plinth, crossing through the building, allows residents of the neighbourhood and visitors to stroll through the building. It connects the square in front of the building with the path with a playground on the other side. The passage with the adjacent common space offers a place for encounter for residents, allows to host small events and becomes a catalyst for community building in the new district. By combining the project's integral accessibility, the typological variety of the dwellings, and the lively plinth in addition to the hotel, the concept of Zuiderzicht enhances social sustainability, diversity, and togetherness.
Zuiderzicht is a compact volume respecting the ‘Passive House standard’. The double skin is conceived based on the desire to provide the inhabitants with the best living comfort in terms of wind, noise, daylight and overheating. The technical sustainability concept features elements such as green roofs, solar panels, and an integrated system for water recovery. 'But we can understand sustainability also literally as ‘enduring over time’. Zuiderzicht’s long-term potential is mainly based on peoples' appreciation and the added value it can provide for as many users as possible for the longest possible time,' says Niels Baeck, architect and partner of evr-architecten.
With Zuiderzicht, the agenda is set for a new and innovative way of flexible urban living in a strategic position to the city centre of Antwerp and with direct contact with its surroundings.