With the completion of the new Province Headquarters in Antwerp by Xaveer de Geyter’s office, the Belgian city has received another icon next to buildings like the MAS museum by Neutelings Riedijk and the Havenhuis by Zaha Hadid. While the two latter are close to the former harbour and part of its reconversion in the last decennia, the Provinciehuis stands tall in the Southern centre of the city. Replacing a complex of modernist building volumes, it opens up the site and turns it into a public parc connecting to the Harmony parc right next to it.
The visual appearance of the building is dominated by its unusual form – a rectangular tower volume with a twist – and its triangular windows which cover the entire surface. In fact, both features are connected: Originally, a lower part of the old building was supposed to be saved; the new building bridges over this glass boxes and, at the same time, turns a way by the so-defined cross-like ground shape to open up the space and avoid shadows on surrounding buildings. To solve this bridging situation constructively, a steel truss with triangular modules is hidden in the walls, lending its form to the rest of the building. Whilde, in the process, the smaller old part however could not be saved, the concept remained. Today, public functions like congress spaces and exhibition areas are housed in the lower part, while offices and a semi-public library are positioned in the tower. In addition, the building is characterized by material combinations typical for Xaveer de Geyter: pure surfaces of brilliant white mosaic tiles meet the dark, almost frameless windows, raw concrete meets aluminium floors, brass and white leather.