Works on iconic Boerentoren going strong. World renowned architect Daniel Libeskind makes his mark on Antwerp skyline
The preparatory works on the Boerentoren are going strong and proceed as planned. That’s what project manager ION tells us. Once these works are done, the rejuvenated skyscraper can begin to take form. How exactly this famous landmark will make its mark on the Antwerp skyline, is determined by the American top architect Daniel Libeskind. That’s what the owner Katoen Natie Groep has just announced. The wider public knows Libeskind mostly as the master builder of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York. “The great ambition is to give the Boerentoren back entirely to the citizens and visitors of Antwerp”, says ION. “Libeskind knows like no other how to translate the soul of a city into a landmark.”
Since the summer of 2021, the preparatory works on the Antwerp Boerentoren have started. More specifically, the protected monument has been emptied completely. Later the steel skeleton will be cleaned up and the floors will be removed and replaced. According to Julie Jockheer, Project Developer at ION, the works proceed according to schedule.
“The outer walls and the famous steel structure are the only things that will remain. All the rest will go, mainly because in the past the constructors have worked with materials based on asbestos. If all goes well, the asbestos works will be finished by the fall of 2024. After that, the construction of the renewed Boerentoren can start. It will be a complex renovation with a completely new use. As a multidisciplinary real estate expert will provide the necessary support. We will strike a unique balance between the heritage value of the tower and its new future: public space with also a panoramic view, gastronomy and of course a lot of culture.”
Kristof De Vleeschauwer, Technical Project Director at ION, project manager of the Boerentoren
The absolute summit
In order to create the right concept for the renewed Boerentoren, Fernand Huts, the CEO and chairman of Katoen Natie Group, has just appointed the American architect Daniel Libeskind. Libeskind is world class in his profession and has received multiple awards. His curriculum is decorated with - among others - the fascinating Michael Lee-Chin Crystal in Ontario, the 192 m high skyscraper and landmark Zlota 44 in Warschau, the distinctively ‘bent’ Torre Libeskind in Milan and of course the masterplan for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York.
“In Antwerp, two international architects have managed to make their mark. On one hand Zaha Hadid with the new Port House and on the other hand Richard Rogers with the new court building (the ‘Butterfly palace’). Halfway between these two landmarks lies the Boerentoren with its iconic dimension. Daniel Libeskind will create and expand the landmark qualities of the Boerentoren with his original architecture.”
Fernand Huts, CEO and chairman of Katoen Natie Groep
“We are proud that we can assist with the redevelopment of a special monument like the Boerentoren. Especially in collaboration with an internationally renowned architect like Daniel Libeskind. It’s a privilege to be able to work with him. This ambitious project will also put our name out into the world. Moreover, it reinforces our own international ambitions. Recently we have become active in Poland, The Netherlands and Luxembourg and these parties are very attentive to the Boerentoren project too.”
Davy Demuynck, co-CEO of ION, project manager of the Boerentoren
Along with the Cathedral of our Lady, the Boerentoren dominates the skyline of the historic center of Antwerp. The unique crown on top of the almost 100 meter high skyscraper plays an important part in that. In the past almost 100 years it kept on changing. Now too, it will get a new dimension. Katoen Natie Group and Libeskind aim for a functional crown that can be used to offer every future visitor a panoramic view.
According to the first architectural concept of Libeskind, the monument will get a new crown. The new Crown offers many advantages: stunning panoramic views, space to walk under and the possibility to eat and drink something. Also remarkable: the Crown will play an important role in the visualization and reinforcement of the Antwerp skyline. It will even make its own mark on it.
As mentioned before, the future Boerentoren will also have a public space and a strong cultural vocation. At least three floors in the monument will be reserved for exhibitions. On top of that, the cellar and the two floors of parking space will harbor an exhibition space dedicated to the history and the heritage of the Port of Antwerp. Finally, the tower will also offer a lot of hospitality facilities: from tearooms and roof terraces to (gastronomic) restaurants.
“The Boerentoren will be at the service of the citizens and society. The monument will help to value the old city center once more as the heart of the city community.”
Fernand Huts, CEO and chairman of Katoen Natie Group
Some historic numbers about the Boerentoren:
- 87,5 m was its original height 1931
- 95,75 m is its height since the renovation of the tip in 1975
- The skeleton consists of 3500 tons of steel
- Reinforcing steel 500 tons
- 430.000 rivets
- 180.000 bolts
- 3.500.000 pieces of bricks of Boom
- Schwenstein-stone for the inner walls – 350.000 pieces
- Cement 3.550 tons
- Rhine pebbles – 5.000 m3
- River sand – 6.000 m3
- White Burgundy stone – 1.400 m3