Stefano Boeri Architetti
Preliminary, definitive, executive design
Stefano Boeri Architetti
Francesca Cesa Bianchi
Stefano Boeri, Francesca Cesa Bianchi (Project director); Hana Narvaez (Project leader), Alessandra Magnetti, Daniele Barillari, con Elisa Versari e Mario Shilong Tan (Team), Sara Gangemi (Senior Landscape Architect).
Local Architects: OM / AR Marc Van Hove, Glenn Somers, Eef Van Meer
Plantation consultant: Laura Gatti, Dott. Eng.
Sustainability: Dirk DeGroof, Eng.
Acoustics: D2S International
Contractor: Van Laere
The Palazzo Verde is the new landmark for Antwerp’s Nieuw Zuid district, whose expansion plan requires that 60% of the entire area (12 hectares) remains green. With a semi-public garden at city height and three large terraces designed to house three roof gardens, the Palazzo Verde is the greenest building in Belgium, able to take a major part in the fight against air pollution, combating fine particulate matter and absorbing up to 5.5 tons of CO2 per year. The project demonstrates the importance of a green block inside a neighbourhood like Nieuw Zuid, characterized by a significant number of trees and shrubs capable of supplying oxygen to the surrounding urban development. The intervention also shows how even a small residential building can offer its inhabitants an unexpected quality of green spaces and social activities, scattered around the entire built area. The building is part of the plot with an L-shaped layout, closing the side of the block towards the Scheldt river and enclosing a semi-private green courtyard in the central part designed by the Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets.
Public space and private space frequently come together in this new project which perfectly integrates architecture with the urban and environmental context in which it is inserted, bringing large portions of nature to its interior. The presence of a flight of steps, which also acts as a public amphitheatre, allows direct access from the courtyard to the Circularity Centre, a place where since it offers tools and the necessary spaces, residents and citizens have the opportunity to repair their bicycles or other household items. The entire building has 67 apartments and has been designed following a 5 x 5 metre grid that determines both the volumetric layout and the design of the façades. These are made up of alternating balconies and loggias based on the threshold concept and the movement of limits between inside and outside. The overall volume has variable heights, with the highest sections having five and six floors and the lower central point only three floors in order to offer the possibility for architecture to host the development of a small forest distributed on the shared terraces on the fourth, sixth and seventh floors.
The Palazzo Verde houses 86 trees and 2,200 shrubs with a total of 780 square metres of total green surface, accessible by residents directly from the stairwells and recognizable as a protected and inclusive space. This has been achieved by placing the trees and shrub vegetation at the edges of the terraces themselves. The presence of 6 apartments on top of the buildings highlights their double or triple exposure and underlines their relationship with the selected native species planted on private terraces following the natural concepts of woods and undergrowth. Particular attention has been paid to the detailed design of balconies and loggias. The former have been designed purely as outdoor spaces and as such have white plaster on the walls and wooden flooring while the second, on the other hand, are entirely covered with wood in such a way as to allow residents to annex them to their homes thus extending the living space. The street view is characterized by a ground floor used for commercial spaces, in total contrast with the internal environment reserved for the courtyard which is characterized by more exclusive spaces intended for recreational spaces and green surfaces.