Scandinavian architecture never ceases to seduce Belgium. In recent years, many projects inspired by Danish, Norwegian or Swedish architecture have started right here.
In Ostend, the Nieuwe Stad project, designed by Danish architects CF Møller Architects associated with the BRUT office, has revitalised buildings dating from the 1970s into a sustainable pedestrian area favouring quality of life and well-being. In Brussels, the new Solvay campus was built by the Danish firm SHL. Thanks to its open and transparent design, in direct connection with the surrounding nature, it offers fluid, collaborative and harmonious workspaces.
In Antwerp, Johannes Norlander is designing the HÅVN project, in the Nieuw Zuid district. This is the first time he has worked outside his own country, as he was seduced by the environment.
Natural light has always been one of the strengths of Scandinavian architecture, which knows how to take advantage of often limited sunlight and play with the reflection of white coatings to increase light. Likewise, the proximity to water, which offers ever-changing colours and reflections, but also calming and inspiring views, has been instrumental in the design of HÅVN. The objective of this way of building: to promote well-being and the feeling of good life. What the Danes call hygge , a term that cannot be translated into English, but which we will adapt to “a warm and cosy life”.
The building, located in the Nieuw Zuid district of Antwerp, is oriented perpendicularly to the Scheldt and is arranged in such a way that each apartment enjoys a maximum view of the water. The building is simple, quite long (nearly 90 metres) but a real feast for the eye. Large floor-to-ceiling windows bring daylight into the heart of the living spaces. Pure lines and Scandinavian solidity in the most beautiful place of Antwerp.
In an interview, Johannes Norlander explains how the Scheldt played a key role in the development of his project and allowed to play with transparency and light. “The view is unique and spectacular, and the North-South orientation allows for optimal sunshine. We wanted a building that didn’t have an ugly rear side to look at. Here, life is everywhere and all the facades are equally important”. In addition, the Nieuw Zuid district has other assets: it benefits from a green and spacious environment, ideal for offering its inhabitants a privileged contact with the surrounding nature.
A crazy idea that won over everyone
The originality of the building is… on its roof, 20 metres high, as the building is covered with a real running track. This is 160 metres long. It will of course be possible to run or walk there, and children will be able to take great bike tours. Such a track, located at the top of a building, would apparently be a world first.
As we can see, HÅVN combines a healthy lifestyle and conviviality in a serene and inspiring setting. All close to the centre of the Flemish metropolis.