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Port house

Port House - Antwerp

Details of Port House - Antwerp, Belgium

  • Client
  • Country Belgium
  • Software
    • SCIA Engineer

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. It consists of three-story-high steel trusses: a middle one and two angled facade trusses.

The supporting structure of this volume contains two parts: a concrete sculptural construction in the form of a trapezium-shaped ring that encloses the south wing of the existing building in a vertical direction, and a four-legged steel structure bent rather 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. The bridge links the front-leg with the concrete core in the atrium and splits around the masonry tower of the existing building.

Analysis of the global model in SCIA Engineer

SCIA Engineer was used to analyse a global model of the whole new building, including both the steel structure and the sculptural concrete forms. In addition, steel checks were performed and the reinforcement designed. 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 computed as well, and the seismic analysis was performed.

“This genius architectural design, located in the harbour of Antwerp, is a very unique structure. Transferring this great idea into a structural design that fits the architectural needs is a real engineering challenge. SCIA Engineer greatly supported the design of this structure under the challenging circumstances, making it possible to combine a restored fire station with a new impressive structure hanging over it.”

Quote of the Jury

Mouton’s Port House project is the winner of the SCIA User Contest 2017 – Category 1, Buildings.
Download the User Story from our SCIA User Contest book:


Client information

The structural engineering office Mouton is active in designing structures, with a strong emphasis on architectural projects. Its philosophy is that structure, like architecture, has to be designed. Moreover, it is often the case that the structure is inseparable from the architecture and structure plays a prominent role in the perception of the design. Mouton’s ambition is to develop a strong structural concept and to help shaping the architectural design. This happens preferably in a team with the architect and other construction partners, and from an early design phase.

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