When renowned architect Zaha Hadid died suddenly in March 2016, she left behind a legacy of award-winning buildings around the world. Approximately 13 of her designs were in various states of completion when she passed, including the Antwerp Port House designed in 2009.
On September 22, the Belgian city inaugurated the new shipping port — the first of four Hadid buildings to open this fall. The estimated construction cost was $55.6 million, including a $2.3 million government subsidy.
Sitting on the edge of the water, the Port House will serve as the headquarters for Antwerp’s port, which spans over seven miles of dock. As Europe’s second largest shipping port, it sees 15,000 trade ships and 60,000 inland boats every year. Antwerp handles 26% of Europe’s container shipping, amounting to more than 200 million tons of goods annually.
The 129,000-square-foot, 95 year-old building was once an abandoned fire station. On top of the repurposed station, there’s a massive glass sculpture, which resembles a ship made from diamonds. Some windows are transparent, while others are reflective, meant to mimic the way diamonds sparkle.
The structure is a nod to Antwerp’s booming diamond industry (The city is often referred to as the “diamond capital of the world,” since around $34 billion worth of jewels are traded there every year).
The inside will feature offices and a café where employees can mingle and eat. The port’s staff of 500 people previously worked in separate buildings throughout the city, but the Port House will now serve as their permanent workplace.
Hadid was known for big budget, neofuturistic works like the Port House. She was also the first Muslim woman to win a Pritzker Prize, an award considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture. Over the span of her four-decade career, she created numerous acclaimed buildings, many of which were characterised by sweeping curves and geometric forms.
Her new creation for Antwerp is certainly one of the most glamorous shipping ports we’ve seen.