The Port House is the head office of the Antwerp Port Authority. The office building is at the Zaha Hadidplein 1, which has been named after architect Dame Zaha Hadid, who died unexpectedly a couple of months before completion of the building
The new building symbolises the dynamic, reliable, ambitious and innovative nature of the Port of Antwerp. It is the daily workplace of 500 employees of the Port Authority and it acts as a meeting place for the many international contacts of the Antwerp port community.
The old fire station on the site, a protected replica of a former Hanseatic house had to be integrated in the new project. The eventual design is the result of several studies, such as a historic survey and an investigation into the history and heritage values of the site. The result consists of two entwined main volumes.
A dynamic beam-shaped volume rises above the existing building and in a visual sense reinforces the former fire station, now a component of the new constellation. An external bridge integrates the existing building with the new expansion.
The expansion has a glass-covered façade which shimmers like waves and thus reflects the complex interaction of shades and colours in the air. This is a referral to the building's exceptional location surrounded by water. The perception of a cut glass mass to give the new building a sparkling appearance refers to Antwerp, the diamond city.
The entire Port House – with its eye-catching and extremely modern glass superstructure – is a metaphor for a 21st century port: a port that is ready for the future.
The new Port House's main objective is to provide an answer to the Port Authority's request to group the technical and administrative services in one location. A number of services were established in the former fire station, other services were in the Hofstraat and in the old Port House at the Entrepotkaai. By grouping these services, the internal co-operation is far more efficient.