Caruso St John Architects

Location: Antwerp, BE
Client: Construction & Investment Partners NV
Project Status: Competition, first prize; Ongoing project

Caruso St John won this commission for an apartment building in Antwerp, with 36 flats, shops and offices, in a limited competition organised by the City. The L-shaped apartment building designed by Caruso St John is part of a city block with further housing by Flemish architects Bovenbouw and ONO architectuur, and dutch architects Rapp + Rapp. The design is the second phase of a masterplan by Rapp + Rapp to redevelop the site of a formers seamen’s hostel in a dense part of the city near the docks. The developer partner in the competition was CIP, who are building both phases.

The different scales of the apartment building and the houses, as well as the different designs made by the architects, is a conscious attempt to make a city block with the enjoyable variety that is found in a typical street or city block. The apartment building and the houses together enclose a quiet courtyard with a garden, which can be entered from the surrounding streets by passages through the buildings. The apartments in the L shaped building have wide balconies facing south and west, overlooking the garden courtyard and a small park to the west. The balconies are designed as loggias held up by figure-like columns of precast concrete. The facades try to avoid the systemisation that is associated with much urban housing of this scale, to make open elevations that have a close association with the spaces that they address. On the ground floor around the courtyard are community functions including a kindergarten, studio spaces and a cafe.