Big Steps (Grote Stappen) // M1 Play the Future - project, Eindhoven University of Technology, Antwerp, Belgium, 2013

East of the Schelde river in the historic north end of Antwerp lies an old industrial site called “Het Eilandje”. This area is split up into different districts by abandoned docks. Due to internationalization and expansion of the harbour in the 20th century, the people and businesses moved, leaving behind a desolate industrial area.

The assignment for this project was to design a residential building with a number of housing types that blend the semi-deserted area with the urban life of Antwerp.
The master plan, drawn up by the city, showed that the different districts also have different functions. The Cadix district is a residential area and the Montevideo district is the cultural center of “Het Eilandje”. With my design I want to connect these two main districts.
Besides from the esthetical purpose, a majority of the docks has lost their function. For that reason, there is no use of keeping water in them. So in my design I drain half of the Kattendijk dock, transforming it into a park by building a dam with a residential function.
This dam serves as an entrance to the park. Thereby, it connects the Montevideo and the Cadix district for cyclists and pedestrians. The old dock will become a cultural park where people can display their art on the 20 follies situated in the park. My goal was to put a strong industrial form into the area which reflected the old harbour.