The studio of Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind designed a contemporary extension to the famous Boerentoren tower in Antwerp, Belgium, once the tallest building in Europe.
Libeskind Studios plans to introduce cultural facilities and rooftop views to the famous 90-year-old skyscraper designed by Belgian architect Jan Van Hoenacker.
The proposal is being developed with local architectural studio ELD and is a winning entry in a design competition run by its current owner, port operator Katoen Natie.
Tower to be “public place for art”
Katoen Natie’s goal is to turn Europe’s first and tallest building on the continent, once completed, into a cultural institution for the public while preserving its architectural heritage.
“In its day, Boerentoren was an unprecedented artistic design, like the Empire State Building in New York City, where I live,” Libeskind said after the announcement.
“It was a private building with apartments and offices. Today we are turning the whole building into a public space for art.”
Repair work on Boerentoren has already begun, with its interior fading due to the presence of asbestos. However, work on Studio Libeskind’s design has not yet been approved by the authorities, so the final design may change, according to VRT.
If approved, the Studio Libeskind extension will sit on top of the tower, like a crown, attached to the tower’s decorative art style.
The extension will not exceed the height of the church.
Visual images also show that the studio plans to add a glass tower to the rear height, with space for many plants visible from the outside.
Both additions are shown with angular mirror shapes in the image, which is typical of many Libeskind works.
While the exact height of the extension is not shown, it will not exceed the height of the 123-meter-tall Antwerp Cathedral.
If built, the Boerentoren extension would be open to the public and serve as a place to admire the view of Antwerp and to drink and dine.
As part of the project, Libeskind Studios plans to transform the existing part of the tower into a cultural and educational space, including a three-story exhibition space.
Existing basement levels and two levels of parking will also be transformed into a gallery dedicated to the history of Antwerp.
The renovation is not the first in Boerentoren.
Boerentoren, which means Farmer’s Tower, was originally built as a residential tower before KBC turned it into an office tower.
KBC renovated and expanded the building in the late 1960s after being forced to dismantle or renovate it.
Libeskind Studios was founded in Berlin in 1989 by Libeskind with his partner Nina Libeskind.
The studio is best known for creating tragic palaces and museums for tragic events, with the most famous examples being the Ground Zero master plan in New York and the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which used his trademark style of Acute angles and slippery surfaces as well.
Visual images are courtesy of Studio Libeskind.