Warmtecentrale, Antwerpen, 2014
IEA in collaboration with visual artist Leon Vranken.
In the river and dune landscape of this landscape design, the engines, transformers, air compressors and the technical area of the thermal power plant will be placed inside a 'plateau dune'. The heating plant is thus intertwined with and incorporated into the landscape design. The building develops no form of its own, gives (almost) nothing away of its activity, but is in effect completely covered by the landscape of the park . The park loses an open space in the center, but on the other hand gains extra space by making the sides accessible.
On the roof of the heating plant a play - water square with a minimum area of 20 by 30 meters is placed, with an east-west orientation. In this square there is a concrete chimney and a water fountain. Both vertical elements perform under the influence of natural and artificial forces (wind, sun, light, their shadows, the vibration of the engines, the smoke emissions) an ever changing dance. Sometimes sensual and seductive, then wild and unpredictable and at other times playful and challenging. The fountain is located on a linear wadi extending west of the chimney. The height of the fountain is determined by the degree of activity in the heating plant.
Water plays a particularly significant role in the landscape park and residential area of Nieuw Zuid. In the current plan, water is primarily experienced in a horizontal state (canals, water in wadis). An additional vertical experience of water adds value to this and aligns with a long tradition of park fountains.
The presence of the fountain shifts the focus, which is no longer solely on the image, the visual aspect of the "chimney" (whether disruptive, striking, guiding, aesthetic), but to both chimney and fountain as a couple. These two vertical elements and their emerging relationship can be clearly perceived from a distance by park users, motorists who drive through the N113 into Antwerp, the inhabitants of the district New South, the leisure walkers of the Southern Docks as well as the users of the Courthouse. It is a mark of the border between the 'old city' and the new urban development.