The Port House in Antwerp

Project: Port House, Antwerp, Belgium

Building client: Antwerp Port Authority

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects

Structural engineering office: Mouton, Belgium

Pictures: Mouton, Belgium

Nemetschek brand involved: SCIA


The Port House in Antwerp represents a genius architectural design that integrates an original, unconventional and eye-catching structure with the old fire station, a protected replica of a former Hanseatic house. It is a daily workplace of 500 employees. The Port House is one of the last works of Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-British architect who received many prizes for her work. She was also the first and only woman who was awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. The project was completed after she had passed in March 2016.

The new part of the complex consists of two entwined main volumes: the elongated volume is approximately 100 m long, up to 25 m wide and four stories high. The supporting structure of this volume contains two parts: a concrete sculptural construction in the form of a trapezium-shaped ring, and a four-legged steel structure bent like an opened paper clip. The most prominent part of the concrete ring is the inclined concrete front-leg located in front of the building. A bridge links the front-leg with the concrete core in the atrium and splits around the masonry tower of the existing building.

SCIA Engineer was used to analyze a global model of the whole new building, including both the steel structure and the sculptural concrete forms. For the steel columns in the atrium (with an arbitrary quadrilateral cross-section), a nonlinear calculation was carried out considering bow imperfections. The eigenfrequencies of the new building were calculated as well, and the seismic analysis was performed.

The Port House, designed by Mouton, is the winner of the SCIA User Contest 2017 – Category 1, Buildings.