Luchtbal Towers Social Housing Antwerp
renovation of 6 towers - 430 apartements
Luchtbal is a residential neighbourhood north of Antwerp, enclosed by large infrastructure areas: the port and Noorderlaan to the west, the railroad and the motorway to the east, and the Albert Canal to the south. The Luchtbal residential towers are a familiar sight for Antwerp residents and form a visual 'gateway to the city' for motorists and train passengers alike.
STRIPPED & INSULATED
The project consists of the renovation of six residential towers commissioned by the housing company 'Onze Woning' at the beginning of the 1960s. The towers contain 18 storeys, originally comprising four apartments each (with the exception of the 18th floor). After the renovation, each tower will comprise 71 apartments with a communal entrance hall and (bicycle) storage rooms.
The objective of the renovation is to preserve the existing closed brick facade with its concrete balconies and at the same radically improve its structural properties and its comfort. The facade will be stripped and properly insulated and the current facade bricks will be replaced with a newer, nearly identical model. The concrete base will be clad in the same way. All the carpentry is replaced with respect for the original facade image.
The terraces are approached individually: the small balconies will be added to the apartments' interior living space, whereas the longer terraces on the east and west facades, defining elements of the building's appearance, will be partially transformed into winter gardens that can either be integrated into the home (thus forming an acoustic and thermal buffer) or fully opened. On the terraces' front side, an evacuation area is installed, offering access to the fire escape ladders, which will henceforth be protected by a cage. These ladders will also mark the boundaries between two adjacent winter gardens.
The most important changes in the common areas have to do with the towers' compliance with current fire safety regulations: on each floor, the open staircases are separated from the hallways by a fire barrier; the staircases leading to the cellar and to the superstructure are disconnected from each other; the ground floor staircase is enclosed within a shaft. Lifts are made wheelchair accessible and will stop at every floor. The entrance hall is completely renovated; the vestibule, doorbells, and mailboxes are reorganised and the adjacent spaces are refurbished in order to maximise bicycle storage space.
photography: Stijn Bollaert
Venezuelastraat, Luchtbal, Antwerp
40.068 m² (phase 1,2 & 3)