Oude Dokken

Ghent, Belgium
Visualization © BEAU
Visualization © BEAU
Visualization © BEAU
9000 Ghent, Belgium
5-20 Stories
Associated architect
Viva Architecture

The City of Ghent considers the reconversion of its three oldest docks into a whole new quarter along the waterfront, where the accent will be on housing with an integration of spaces for retail, offices, recreation and public services. DDS & Partners Architects, in collaboration with the architectural office VIVA Architecture, analysed and set out a proposal for a mixed-use development of the ‘Handelsdok West’ (‘Western Dock’).

The project engages in a dialogue with both the historic city centre and the docks. Crowned by a tower building and composed of two parallel rows of residences, it creates built fronts with a resolutely urban character along the Boulevard and the waterfront. The facades reflect the parcelled rhythmic of the city’s historic centre in the organisation of its residential units. The residences enjoy at the same time of calm and by their north-south orientation sunny private gardens and terraces at the inside of the building block. In order to adjust its scale to the existing built environment, the block was split up by three crossings, turning it into a fordable area with view and perspectives on the water, whilst upholding a clear distinction between private and public spaces. The tower building is given a special appearance of lightness by the vertical articulation of its composition. Despite the different architectural approach, tower and lower building constitute an urbanistic and architectural whole that subtly but clearly refers to the context of historic maritime warehouses. Indeed, the project proposes a different manner of living by proposing a stacking of a large set of housing types, from studios and apartments to individual houses.

The project proposes a functional mixture, with an integration of public and semi-public functions. A bar, a park, roof gardens, a play garden, a room for family meetings, rest areas, and a footbridge across the dock are just a few examples of the proposed program that contribute to the project’s habitability.

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