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.   
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Het Steen - New Cruise Terminal & Tourist Centre from 2020
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.  
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.   
Future view from the Noorderterras © NoAarchitecten Het Steen in October 2017 - ©Sebastiaan Peeters
Merge of Old and New
Unfolded sideview of the historic part of Het Steen together with the new extension © NoAarchitecten
Photo: Unfolded sideview of the historic part of Het Steen together with the new extension © NoAarchitecten
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.  
Cruise terminal with medieval allure
Front view of Het Steen with the new extension - ©NoAarchitecten
Photo: Het Steen with the new extension © NoAarchitecten
Het Steen - Grondplan Kaainiveau/Cruiseterminal ©NoAarchitecten
The spacious hall of the terminal will be equipped to easily handle 500 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.  
Floor plan cruise terminal - Quay level © NoAarchitecten
Side view Het Steen - Street side © NoAarchitecten
Side view Het Steen - River 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 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.  The exact appearance of the pontoon has not yet been  announced, but on the picture to the left you can  already see how it might possibly look.  
Possible look of the cruise pontoon - not final - © NoAarchitecten Het Steen - Side view River side - © NoAarchitecten
Pontoon for sea- and river cruises
Simulation of the possible look of the cruise pontoon - © NoAarchitecten
Het Steen - Side view River side - © NoAarchitecten
Het Steen - New look-out Tower © NoAarchitecten
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.  
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 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.  
Photo: Het Steen - New look-out Tower © NoAarchitecten
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.