The skyline of Antwerp’s Eilandje district forever redrawn
1000 new residents for the Cadix neighbourhod
The first residents have moved into the new building block 'Cadiz' to Kattendijk. The building, designed by Polo Architects and META architecture office, together with the adjacent (to realize) District Square Cadiz a new reference point of the redeveloped Cadix in Antwerp.
The construction of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), the opening of the Red Star Line Museum, and the makeover of streets, squares, and quays brought an end to the decades of dilapidation in Antwerp’s Eilandje district. Thanks to the new government incentives, project developers also took an interest in investing in the old port area. The construction of residential high-rises on Kattendijkdok (Diener & Diener Architekten) and the Cadiz project on the other side illustrate that transformation. A new, trendy urban neighbourhood is born. More and more residents are finding their way to the Eilandje.
Cadiz is a mixed-use project with more than 40,000 m2 of houses, a healthcare centre, a hotel, offices, and shops on a spacious block in the Cadix neighbourhood. Cadiz was constructed on the site of the former Customs Authorities building. Although the brutalist edifice designed by architect Etienne De Pessemier in the 1970s was not without qualities, it proved unsuitable to accommodate housing. It was especially hard to give each apartment sufficient natural light. Moreover, the building was situated in the middle of the block and was surrounded by parking spaces and scraps of greenery. The building lacked the required urban qualities to bring life to the new residential neighbourhood. This piece of cultural heritage was demolished.
The task at hand was complex: to create a large number of residential units in a deep block, while ensuring that each individual home still had sufficient light and a view. At the same time, the project had to bring life to the new city district. The architects found a way to untangle this knot. The result is a remarkable block with a typology that is unprecedented in Belgium.
Cadiz has two faces. From close by, at the street level, one can only see the plinth of the building facade with its stores and offices. A trellis on the second and third floor encircles the entire building block, screening the apartments from the street. From the street, you can catch a glimpse of the communal inner garden. The entrances to the residential units are located here. From a distance, Cadiz offers a more monumental impression. Four towers are set further back from the building line, kneeling on the roof of the base with their feet in the garden of the inner courtyard, situated on a lower level. A sloping green surface connects the communal interior area with the private gardens on the base, from which the occupants enjoy distant vistas of the port and the city.
The plan integrates different types of residential units: apartments, luxurious duplexes, studios, and social housing. All residential units are equipped with balconies, roof terraces, or small gardens. The interweaving of residential units and other urban functions makes this building into a city within the city.