Boerentoren, Antwerp, Belgium

For the redevelopment of the Boerentoren in Antwerp, the central question was how this tower - which previously served mainly as an office building - could optimally exude culture in the future and house the patrimony of The Phoebus Foundation. Robbrecht en Daem's design was built around the democratic idea of making art as accessible as possible. To make art and 'life' coexist.
Encounters with art are far from obvious. On the completely open and fordable ground floor, formal cultural visits are therefore dismantled into chance and informal encounters with art. Here, for instance, one can already get a first glimpse of the atrium and look up several layers into its height, to a truly eye-catching flood of light. Around the atrium we find the exhibition rooms. The terraced layers of the dome at the top of the atrium are accessible. Museum visitors walk within the structure of this place, bathed in a ziggurat of light. This walkability allows passers-by on the ground floor to glimpse not only the height of the atrium, but also the actual museum and its vibrancy up above. Thus, the infectious and somewhat mysterious atmosphere of the museum descends to the ground floor. 
Departing from the plinth towards the crown, "the longest cultural walk" is created: a string of museum spaces along the entire length of the structure that intertwine with a residential narrative. The museum-like and residential spaces stand shoulder to shoulder and circulate around each other. The design thus threads art, culture, and the elementary aspects of being human (living, working, eating and drinking, shopping, relaxing, learning, playing...) together like a sequence of 'events'. It is what we express as the democratic coming together at the core of the design. 
While the tower is given a new look on the inside, it remains true on the outside. The Boerentoren, which has been at the heart of Antwerp's skyline since 1932, belongs to the kind of structures that are analogous to a city's black box. They are memory and compass, bringing both resident and city into scale. Like a stone logbook, this building helps to record Antwerp's metropolitan past. Within the heritage context, with this design we wish to remain true to the primary image of the Boerentoren, as it is in the mind of the Antwerp inhabitant. Loyalty is among the foundations of our attitude towards a monument of this magnitude. 
Katoen Natie, The Phoebus Foundation, ION
Robbrecht en Daem architecten
Redevelopment into a cultural tower
Antwerp, Belgium
3D / Rendering / Visuals
Robbrecht en Daem architecten and G2 Architectural Graphics
Bernard Vandermeersch