Reconversion of the WDT-Loods, Park Spoor Noord
The WDT-Loods is located in the North of Antwerp and makes part of Park Spoor Noord. The reconversion of the former railway depot was assigned to Verdickt & Verdickt ARCHITECTEN after an international competition. Nowadays the building accommodates communal functions (events and sports), offices and logistic spaces. Because of the elegant balance between the historic skin and the new translucent box, the WDT-Loods now functions as a signboard of the new park and as catalyst of the further development of the neighborhood.
After an international competition Verdickt & Verdickt ARCHITECTEN were assigned with the redevelopment of a former railway depot.
The site is located in Antwerp-North, a strongly deprived area. For many years, the old railway yard separated the surrounding working-class quarters. The brownfield location was transformed into a new park ‘Park Spoor Noord’, a design of Studio Associato Bernardo Secchi – Paola Viganò. The former railway company’s valuable buildings have been recycled which provides a historical dimension and identity to the site.
The change of use of the old warehouses into communal functions (sports, events hall, education, public house) offers the old building a strategic position as a catalyst for future development in this difficult area of the city.
The two main design principles are the maximal integration of the contemporary program within the historical context and the heritage’s future value. Maximal recycling and reuse of the existing resources are pursued to generate a sustainable building.
The recognizable existing shell is preserved and enriched with a new, translucent, insulating box that is slid into the brick envelope. To connect the extended program, a foyer with various atmospheres runs along the different functions, through the existing structure. At the end of the foyer the new translucent dome of the college sports hall appears.
During daytime, the translucent dome gives the sports hall the impression of a covered square. At night, when the lights in the sports hall are turned on, the building is transformed into an enormous lamp, a glowing element in the landscape.
As a result of the recognizable concept, the building becomes a landmark as required in the park’s master plan in harmony with the valuable character of the former warehouses.