For the occasion of the one hundredth birthday of the Flemish architect Renaat Braem we were invited by the City Architect of Antwerp and the Flemish Architecture Institute (VAI) to make a development vision for Het Kiel. We wrote a manifesto for a sustainable future of this estate of deck access apartments.
In our view, the positioning of Het Kiel in the social housing market of Antwerp is pivotal. The domestic pleasure Het Kiel has to offer must be adjusted quite accurately to the demands of specific target groups within this market. The size of the estate has to be taken into account: it is far too large (800 dwellings) to focus on niche markets. The Creative City is no solution for Het Kiel!
We propose to deduct the essential qualities of Het Kiel from the design drawings and the related Linear City design and to reinforce those. These are the large courts with greenery, the colorful lobbies and the access decks which seem to float in the air. Here, focus on maintenance and restoration is needed.
A diverse range of weaker properties coincide with an urgent necessity for intervention: the thermal performance of the facades is poor and the structure contains a high number of cold bridges. The plans of the dwellings may need update. These aspects deserve more thorough intervention.
Additions to the estate are also conceivable, especially when it comes to the manifestation of the estate in its local context. Increased mobility has caused a vast number parked vehicles. We propose to accommodate these in a lowered parking field which is accurately attached to the entrance lobbies of the buildings.
Commission: City Architect of Antwerp