Constructing a high-rise apartment building
The Residence AQUA Blankenberge was my fourth design. We had to create a mixed-use residential high-rise apartment building. It had to be situated between two existing high-rise building of the same height. A layout (8,2 meters wide and 24,0 meters deep) with a core (elevator and staircase) was given and had to be elaborated individually. Other parts, like the façade and the choice of materials, were free of any restriction. The building had to be a mix of a concrete and a wooden frame structure, with the wooden frame taking up the upper two floors.
I choose the Zeedijk of the coastal city of Blankenberge to be my location. Scouting down the entire promenade, I found the perfect spot. My design would be flanked by a typical post 90’s modern high rise building on the left (the ones you see all over the Belgian coast), and a freshly renovated high-rise building from the 1940s with beautiful Art Deco elements. My goal was to create something that connects these two styles in some way. The location is also right in front of the Blankenberge Pier, a popular tourist attraction and thereby close to many major public transportation routes.
The ground floor is divided into two halves. The lower half consists of a multi-functional room, restrooms, storage, and a small kitchen with its own garden. The upper half houses the entrance to the residential units, the core with its elevator and the staircase and a storage room for things as bikes, etc.
Floors 1 to 6 share the same layout. The living room, the dining area, and the kitchen are located on the right side of the building, with the floor-to-ceiling windows granting unobstructed views of the Zeedijk, the Blankenberge Pier and the North Sea. The entrance hall connects these rooms with the two bedrooms, which are both situated on the back of the apartment. One of the bedrooms features a small balcony. The bathroom, the storage room, the technical room, and the toilet can be found between these two areas.
The Penthouse covers both the sixth and seventh floor of the building. A spacious kitchen and dining area can be found on the right side of the apartment, while the living room with a small reading corner and a fireplace is located on the backside. The staircase for the upper floor is situated in the entrances hall that connects the two parts with each other while also granting access to a technical room and the toilet. The second floor of the penthouse consists of one bedroom with a walk-in closet, a bathroom, a soundproof music room all on the left side and center of the apartment while an art/drawing-room (with separate storage), a technical room, and a cabinet with laundry facilities can be found on the right side.
The façade facing the North Sea features floor-to-ceiling windows on every unit. The spacious terraces are shaped like a wave, moving from right to left. The shape of each balcony shifts 20cm to the left while extruding 10cm to the front. This system makes the top balcony more than four square meters bigger than the lowest one and also creates a natural shading system for each but the highest terrace. The façade on the backside has more slender windows, securing the privacy of its inhabitants since the building is located in a densely built area with many high-rise buildings surrounding it. The small terraces at the bedrooms are build up in the same system like the one used on the front side.
The upper two floors on the front are slightly leaning outwards and are covered in wood (unlike the rest of the building that’s covered in stone) creating the picture of a ship’s bow on top of the waves.