A floating ship or a sparkling cluster of diamonds – both associations of this extension to Antwerp’s historic Harbour House are directly connected to the building’s surroundings. The diamond stands for Antwerp’s leading status in the stone’s industry. The ship is a nod to the area on the River Scheldt. Moreover, Antwerp is Europe’s second-largest harbour; in fact, 26% of all container ships sail through the port. Even the decision to plan the urgently needed extension to the harbour authority building upwards rather than laterally has a historical background. Originally, the building was planned as a tower. The extension now offers all 500 employees of the harbour authority space on five floors. Furthermore, it houses a public library with a reading room, conference spaces, an auditorium, restaurant and an external bridge that connects the new structure with the old. The glittering structure reflects the surrounding area with its opaque and transparent triangular facets, which also provide the greatest possible amount of daylight to the interior. The building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects
, has earned the distinction “very good” according to the BREEAM standards. This recognizes the structure’s eco-friendly techniques and design.