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Graeme Massie and Sutherland Hussey Harris win huge Antwerp masterplan

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Graeme Massie Architects and Sutherland Hussey Harris have won an international competition for a mixed-use overhaul of Antwerp’s Left Bank

The Edinburgh-based duo – working in partnership with Avantgarden and Aecom – defeated a shortlist of rival international firms to be named joint-winners of the competition for the prestigious waterfront commission.

The project aims to upgrade the Belgian city’s Left Bank district which features a variety of low and high-rise buildings built over many years without a single cohesive strategy.

The winning design will create new ‘physical and spatial connections’ between the Left Bank and city centre while also accommodating city growth, providing new amenities, and delivering a ‘diverse and pleasurable’ public landscape with river access.

The scheme features a new mixed-use ‘stepping stone’ quarter within the river featuring housing, commercial and public amenities and visitor destinations connected to both the right and left banks by two new bridges.

Meanwhile a new ‘Westpark’ will deliver a leisure destination for Antwerp featuring culture, recreational and sports amenities amid a landscape of varied ecologies and habitats including forests, sand dunes and a salt marsh.

The win comes two years after Graeme Massie Architects and Sutherland Hussey Harris were shortlisted in a separate competition to redevelop Antwerp’s southern docks.

London’s 6a architects and Sergison Bates are currently competing for a new £10.6 million maritime museum in north Antwerp.

The practices have been named on rival teams shortlisted for the new landmark cultural facility which will be constructed within a former dry docks complex masterplanned for redevelopment by the Flemish Government Architect, Vlaams Bouwmeester. Nearby landmarks include the Antwerp Port House by Zaha Hadid Architects.

In July the Flemish Government Architect launched its biannual ‘open call’ for teams to complete a range of major public schemes. Now closed for entries, this summer’s international competition featured seven schemes including a 400-unit social housing scheme in Ostend, a town centre masterplan for Moerbeke, and the regeneration of a historic church in Hasselt.

Graeme Massie's and Sutherland Hussey Harris' competition-winning Antwerp Left Bank masterplan

Graeme Massie’s and Sutherland Hussey Harris’ competition-winning Antwerp Left Bank masterplan

Graeme Massie’s and Sutherland Hussey Harris’ competition-winning Antwerp Left Bank masterplan

Graeme Massie's and Sutherland Hussey Harris' competition-winning Antwerp Left Bank masterplan

Graeme Massie’s and Sutherland Hussey Harris’ competition-winning Antwerp Left Bank masterplan

Graeme Massie’s and Sutherland Hussey Harris’ competition-winning Antwerp Left Bank masterplan

In a statement announcing the latest win, Graeme Massie Architects said: ‘The history of Left Bank of the city reveals a district that has emerged from a patchwork of plans that have only been partially implemented, leaving an area composed of a multitude of urban strategies from low rise suburban to high-rise modernist planning.

‘The competition provides a unique opportunity to develop urban proposals which will feed into the process of transformation of this central, yet disconnected, part of the city.

‘Through the provision of new housing, amenities and a diverse public landscape with excellent pedestrian connections, the Left Bank will be consolidated as a distinctive but integral district of Antwerp.’

The document continued: ‘We propose a rich tapestry of urban form, creating a series of distinct and vibrant communities. At the heart of our proposal is the provision of new housing and amenities, located amongst the existing residential towers. This provides the Left Bank with a new neighbourhood centre – a distinctive focus which it currently lacks.

‘Anchoring the built form is a landscape strategy which retains public access to the waterfront and provides a wide range of community uses, landscape characters and ecologies.’

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