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The Construction work on Het Steen will start in March 2018. The historic, protected part of the building will be restored, but will not be altered any further. The building extension that was added in the ‘50s will be torn down. The functions that the building will have to get are not able to be realised by keeping the current layout. To solve this problem there has been chosen to build a new extension with contemporary architecture that will be connected to the historic building. “We strive to make one single building that will appease several time periods”, says Alderman of Tourism Koen Kennis. 
Photo: Het Steen - New look-out Tower © NoAarchitecten
In the design of NoAarchitecten they strategically chose for façade openings, combined with closed surfaces. “The new walls will be erected monolithically out of brick”,  announces Koen Kennis. “The colours of the brick were chosen in function of the nuanced colours of the natural stone of the fortress wall to create a feeling of unity with the  century-old walls.” Different colour tones will be used, just like it is the case in the original walls. For the execution of the range of colouring a specific artist has been assigned.
The brickwork will be supplemented by high-quality architectural concrete for creating the wall sills, etc. On the inside of the building it was chosen to use sober materials. The  floors on the lower levels will be constructed out of natural stone and the higher floors  will be made out of wood. The inside walls will consist of the same kind of brick that will be used for the façades of the building.
The new extension will also include the construction of new tower from which the visitors will get a beautiful view of the River Scheldt and the city. The tower will be accessible for everyone that wants to climb it. There will also be created a rooftop terrace that will be  connected to the new look-out point.
Cruise terminal with medieval allure
Het Steen is the oldest building in the city of Antwerp. It was built between 1200 and 1225 as a gate building for the fortress at that time. During the straightening of the quays  around 1880 most of the fortress was torn down and only the current building was kept. Onwards 1864 it was used as a museum of antiquities. That museum was replaced by the National Shipping Museum in 1952. This museum stayed until 2008 after which the  collection was relocated to the MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom). Only the large museum  pieces, the ships, stayed behind. At the moment the ships can still be found below the  hangar of the Noorderterras, but they will soon have to be moved for the start of the  construction works. 
To make Het Steen the tourist centre of Antwerp the Office of Tourism, which is currently located at the Grote Markt, will be moved to Het Steen. Apart from that the City Shop will also get its place in the building. There will also be room for expositions and an active tour where people can learn all about Antwerp. The cruise passengers will also be welcomed in the historic building thanks to the brand new cruise terminal that will be created.
Photo: Het Steen in November 2017 ©Sebastiaan Peeters
Merge of Old and New
Het Steen - New Cruise Terminal & Tourist Centre from 2020
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Photo: Future view from the Noorderterras © NoAarchitecten
From medieval Fortress to Tourist Centre
Het Steen, the oldest building in Antwerp, will be getting a new purpose from 2020.  Over the next few years the famous monument will be rebuilt as a tourist reception  centre. The building will be provided with an information desk, a city shop, expositions, an active tour and a rooftop terrace. This will all be realised from the first floor up. On quay/street level Het Steen will be getting equipped as a cruise terminal. Due to the construction works on the Scheldt Quays the current cruise terminal at the Zuiderterras (Quay 20-21) will no longer be able to be used in the future. During the construction works the conservation of the historic, protected building will be the utmost priority.
Back ©NoAarchitecten.net
The Construction Works at the Scheldt Quays are now fully underway and that makes for a change of purpose to the different sections of the quays. The works are now starting to close in  on the city centre from the South and some changes are already becoming  visible. During September and October 2017 several old hangars have been demolished or dismantled. Hangar 18, just South of the Zuiderterras, has also been removed. The  hangar and the walking terrace at the Zuiderterras is (just like the Noorderterras)  protected, but the area at Quay 20-21 will be put to different use in the future. In the new design there will be no place for the current terminal that is located below the hangar. The city of Antwerp had been searching for a good purpose for Het Steen for a long time and finally they decided to turn it into a tourist centre with space for a new cruise  terminal. The new cruise terminal will be located at quay/street level. The new section of the building in which the cruise terminal will be located will, just like the historic part, give the feeling of arriving in a medieval fortress.
Photo: Het Steen with the new extension © NoAarchitecten
The spacious hall of the terminal will be equipped to easily handle 400 passengers before going through security. The security zone will exist of a closed off space with two control desks, an X-ray scanner, a body-search room and a customs office with luggage-check.  When the passengers arrive in the security zone they enter the ISPS-zone (International Ship and Port facility Security). Below you can take a look at the floor plan of the terminal and the future side views of Het Steen.
Het Steen - Grondplan Kaainiveau/Cruiseterminal ©NoAarchitecten
Floor plan cruise terminal - Quay level © NoAarchitecten
Side view Het Steen - River side © NoAarchitecten
Side view Het Steen - Street side © NoAarchitecten
From 2020 cruise ships will once again dock at the Noorderterras, like it has been the case several times at the start of the ‘90s, but this time it  will be done in a different way. Contrary to the way the ships docked in the past they will no longer moor directly to the quay wall. A pontoon  with a length of 350 metres and 9 metres wide will be created at which  the ships will dock, following the example of the cruise terminal of  Liverpool. The pontoon will be open for use to both sea cruise ships and river cruise ships and will no longer require an hydraulic gangway.
Pontoon for sea and river cruises
Het Steen in November 2017 ©Sebastiaan Peeters Het Steen in November 2017 ©Sebastiaan Peeters Het Steen in November 2017 ©Sebastiaan Peeters Het Steen in November 2017 ©Sebastiaan Peeters
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Vooraanzicht van Het Steen met de nieuwe aanbouw - ©NoAarchitecten Uitgevouwen zijaanzicht van het historische deel van Het Steen samen met de nieuwe aanbouw © NoAarchitecten Het Steen - Nieuwe uitkijktoren © NoAarchitecten Het Steen in oktober 2017 - ©Sebastiaan Peeters Toekomstig zicht vanop het Noorderterras © NoAarchitecten
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Photo: Unfolded sideview of the historic part of Het Steen together with the new extension © NoAarchitecten
The pontoon will consist of three parts that will be connected to eachother. Attached to that by two smaller pontoons, there will be two covered 70  metres long gangways. The length makes it that they will never be too steep, even during low tide. The cruise pontoon will stretch as far into the river as the current ‘Van Dyck- pontoon’, also known as the Flandria-pontoon, and will be fitted with large  fenders and bollards to make sure that ships can moor in a safe way.
The cruise pontoon - ©Ontwerp Ney&Partners, Visualisatie bmd3d The cruise pontoon - ©Ontwerp Ney&Partners, Visualisatie bmd3d
The cruise pontoon - Gangway A - ©Ontwerp Ney&Partners, Visualisatie bmd3d
The cruise pontoon - ©Ontwerp Ney&Partners, Visualisatie bmd3d
The cruise pontoon - ©Ontwerp Ney&Partners, Visualisatie bmd3d