An ensemble enhanced by nuanced colour and indirect uniformity
A project by META, a dvvt, NOA and OFFICE
The Belgian architectural teams of META, advvt, NOA and OFFICE present a building block that possesses an indirect but recognizable uniformity, yet does not forsake its own strong identity. KAAI 37 is the first passive group housing project to be certified.
META architectuurbureau, architecten de vylder vinck taillieu, noAarchitecten and OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen have each designed a building for the KAAI 37 block in the Cadix district of Het Eilandje in Antwerp. Together with PROJECT²/Bermaso, the 4 offices won the design competition formulated for the southern housing block by AG Vespa.
The southern complex consists of 4 buildings with a total surface area of 8,500 m² that group 72 apartments and duplex apartments, 5 houses and 4 commercial units around a courtyard.
Four other architectural teams - POLO Architects, PULS architects, Vermeiren - De Coster Architects & cuypers & Q architects - each designed a building for the northern half. A shared courtyard forms the green heart of the block.
Colour nuances and mineral materials reveal a unified whole
The context, position and visibility of the ensemble required a specific approach to the materiality of the façade. The underlying grid, which is tailored to the warehouses in the district, creates an indirect uniformity. Mineral materials with subtle colour nuances enhance the idea of the ensemble. For example, the glass façade cladding, prefabricated concrete elements and glazed tiles were all elaborated in shades of green. This colour was even extended to the masonry work on the façade.
Certified passive group housing project
KAAI 37 is the first passive group housing project to be certified by Pixii (formerly the Passiefhuis-Platform). Not only were the energy requirements of the building taken into account, but also the correlation between its needs and the supply of energy from renewable sources. This analysis occurred at all levels, ranging from the individual home to the building as a whole, and extending to the wider neighbourhood.
A large plant-filled courtyard with public and private areas
Great attention was paid to the integration of terraces and balconies. The exteriors of the buildings have a refined and static appearance. On the inside, the emphasis was placed upon the creation of a pleasurable plant-filled courtyard. This was carefully divided into private and communal outdoor areas.
An ambitious collaboration
The project is the result of an intensive collaboration between the 4 offices. A series of common principles was established and honoured, including the decision to use a glazed or reflective finish for the exterior and an agreement about how the façade grid would be organised. Moreover, the team consulted the designers of the north building block and agreed that West 8 could design the entire courtyard.
Unique in the port district
With its rectangular street pattern and exceptional location on the peninsula, the former harbour district is a unique site within Antwerp’s urban fabric. With KAAI 37, the historic evolution of the building block pattern within Het Eilandje is completed and the street pattern is extended right up to the quayside. The public space has also been completely renewed.
META opted for a passive building with an exoskeleton
META opted to use a concrete outer structure, or exoskeleton, for its building. The finished exterior is composed of grey-green, prefabricated concrete façade frames that also form the supporting structure of the building. The specific profiling of these frames makes it possible to position the floor plates in a thermally interrupted manner.
“For our building we opted to use a concrete outer structure, or exoskeleton. This building method not only ensures maximum flexibility, but also proves to be very quick and efficient in execution. A more intensive version of META's core tenet that 'structural work is finishing work'.This building method not only ensures maximum flexibility for the interior layout, but also proves to be very quick and efficient in execution. It is a more intensive version of META’s core tenet that ‘structural work is finishing work’.
[ META architectuurbureau ]
META is the first office to succeed in meeting passive standards with an exoskeleton.
In addition to this building, META also designed the underground car park and took responsibility for the on-site coordination of the project.