The Headquarters of an Architecture Studio in Antwerp Becomes a Declaration of Intent

Isabella Prisco
·3 minuto per la lettura
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects

From ELLE Decor

A parking lot, a restaurant, a dance floor, and then a restaurant once more: the building hosting the headquarters of Binst Architects in Antwerp (including the teams that worked on projects B and B7) is reborn once more. Originally constructed as a deposit for African rubber collected and created from lianas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, this former warehouse facing the right banks of the Scheldt River is now a creative hub spanning over 1,000 square meters. Nestled between the quays and the Gedempte Zuiderdokken car park, Luikstraat 7 is surrounded by the MuHKA museum of contemporary art, FoMu photography museum, and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in a stimulating combination of layered, avant-garde structures. Here in the former port area, the geometries of bricks forming the original facade are paired with the industrial coldness of steel between balconies and stairs in New York style.

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects

A location in a cultural setting in full transition and redevelopment," explains Luc Binst, CEO of the architecture studio renowned for its multidisciplinary and visionary approach. “In recent years, much has changed in the construction industry in terms of regulation; we are on the eve of a technological revolution, new building methods, fundamental energy principles and over the next 10 years the construction industry will change in an intriguing manner!” It’s for this that even those who work here have to be ready and organized to best respond to the new needs of the market. “The great opportunities we have had in recent years, our clients’ many ambitions and dynamics have often been highly contagious and we wish to be a firm that can keep up and provide direction. Twenty years later, we are ready for a breath of fresh air, a renewed focus on the future and the dynamism for which the new, sleek label at this location strives.” Symbolically, this wave of enthusiasm is translated in the selection of a new address for their offices — a habitat with a transversal DNA bringing together dialogue, networking, ambition and a passion for “positive” architecture understood as the perfect (yet audacious) combination between place, experience and quality.

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects

The main headquarters of Binst Architects then becomes the banner of a modus operandi, a declaration of intent that, through its building form, represents the philosophy of the company it houses. The headquarters are, in fact, a beacon of corporate branding. Tapering as it rises, the building unfolds across four different atmospheres that declare a clear architectural unit: the upper level, which reaches a verticality of eight meters and is dominated by original Polenceau trusses, is a diaphanous space with an almost sacred appearance illuminated by a radiating skylight. The floor below, meanwhile, is distinguished by beams and columns in black iron and paired to floors in oak blocks. On the ground floor, a vaulted ceiling in brick is paired to a pavement in black and white terrazzo, while a large open space for events is reserved in the basement, where the same floor is paired with mirrored brass and stainless steel.

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects

To define the rooms that mark the living path is a succession of stairs and balconies, along with the cruciform geometry of the beams that define the architectural void between ceiling and floors. The result is an ordered space framing the environment around it without altering the original essence of the building or distorting its identity.

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo Binst Architects