Architect in the spotlight: Polo Architects

In 1918, the first social homes were build at the Antwerp district 'Luchtbal', with many more that followed in the next decades. In 2006, it became clear that these homes were more than ready for a change and even renewal. ‘Woonhaven Antwerp’ therefore decided to replace all existing buildings.

Polo Architects drew the winning design for the contest that was held for this project. They could hence start designing the 149 houses and commercial spaces at Manchester Avenue in Antwerp. With a total area of 15,000m² and a cost of € 19.2 million, it is one of the biggest Flemish Social Housing projects ever.

Within the 'Luchtbal’ the project is located between the ‘Tuinwijk’ from the 1930s and an open space with modernist residential towers. Polo Architects drew their design, always keeping a contemporary version of the ‘Tuinwijk’ in mind. They have used the positive characteristics of the ‘Tuinwijk’ as a guide for the new Project.

The Bricks from Nelissen Steenfabrieken were submitted by the general contractor, 'Antwerp Construction’ who were already familiar with the good price/quality ratio of Nelissen Bricks.

For this project, Polo Architects had a brick in mind with many nuances, with colors already present in the walls of the current  ‘Tuinwijk’. They wanted to create a project that fits into its surroundings and which would be in harmony with the existing buildings. Of course, with a contemporary touch. Nelissen Bricks is flexible in creating custom made colors. According to Katrien Van Loco, Architect at Polo Architects, it was very interesting to work with Nelissen Bricks to develop a brick that met their expectations regarding to the appearance of the brick. Through a nonstop dialogue between Nelissen Bricks and Polo Architects regarding to the color range and the sanding of the brick, the desired result for this project has been achieved. The bricks for the project at Manchester Avenue are used in the irregular bond with thin-bed mortar. And as anyone could see, the result looks fabulous!