Moxy Hotel Antwerpen, Belgium
29 september 2021
Project: Moxy Hotel Antwerpen | Belgium
Architect: HUB Architecten | Belgium
Fabricator: COFAC Ede. BV.
Installer: MGB Cladding systems
Façade System: Glued/ Tray Panels Special Design
Year of Construction: 2019
Product: ALUCOBOND® PLUS premium anodised Bronze C32
Photos: Evaldas Lasys
A question of perspective
When something is viewed from different perspectives, it is rare for its appearance to actually remain the same. However, in the case of this particular building in this precise location, the façades could scarcely be more diverse. The identity of the building plot itself is fourfold: to the south, the monumental Court of Human Rights designed by Richard Rogers; to the west, a large park and a new district of closely packed, high-end flats; to the north, vacant industrial buildings and workshops; to the east, a mid to late 19th century “Grunderzeit” quarter. The role of the new build is also ambiguous: it comprises a petrol station, car parking facilities, a supermarket, flats, office accommodation, a hotel and a restaurant. What is more, the new structure was tasked with completing and complementing an existing perimeter block development. The whole of this new quarter is in a state of flux, a situation reflected by the flowing water in the nearby River Scheldt. Although the architects obviously faced a complex task, they have achieved what seemed impossible: managing to fuse all façades, all uses, as well as old and new into a recognisable entity with disparate aspects. The recurrent motif on their façades is a continuous, modular grid design using a material combination of concrete and bronze-coloured metal. The frontage along the road is clad in premium anodised Bronze ALUCOBOND® tray panels with wide, asymmetrical, chamfered surrounds which arrange the windows into a rectangular grid system. This angular grid is continued far beyond where windows are actually located in the form of a half-height lattice above the petrol station forecourt. The individual areas here are covered with elongated aluminium panels in the same bronze colour. The concrete base with large shop windows extends around the building. On the south side, the architects have adjusted the motif. The upper floors still follow the grid pattern, but the window surrounds on one level are reversed in the next storey. The building appears to unfurl and become more three-dimensional. The appearance changes again on the park-facing side by opening up in spatial terms with concrete balconies, glazed balustrades and timber façades slanting inwards. Unlike the frontage along the road, this “green” side is not as smooth and glossy, but it is still consistent thanks to the window frames and railings in the same shade of bronze, and to the strict modular façade grid. The dimensions of the grid layout mean the configuration is not interrupted by the entrance to shops, flats or the underground car park at street level nor by the glazing for shop windows. This building’s relationship with its surroundings, literally depends on your perspective and yet, taken together, all the different aspects produce a coherent and compatible entity.