Westkaai Towers 5 & 6 / Tony Fretton Architects

Westkaai Towers 5 & 6 / Tony Fretton Architects

  • © Philip Dujardin - Westkaai Towers 5 & 6 / Tony Fretton Architects
  • © Philip Dujardin - Westkaai Towers 5 & 6 / Tony Fretton Architects


Tony Fretton Architects was appointed to design the facades and appearance of the communal lobbies. The local architect in close collaboration designed the buildings’ form and floor layouts with client and end users in accordance with local planning and building regulations.


The planning regulations stipulate the outline form and position of the towers in line with the regulations for towers 1 to 4. Each pair of towers is required to be related but different, like twins. Any technical equipment at roof level requires to be integrated within the buildings’ façade design. Parking is to be provided underground only and access to the car park needs to be incorporated within the footprint of the building. Any remaining site area is to be handed back to the city as landscaped public park.

Design Statement

As part of the extensive redevelopment of the Antwerp Docks six residential towers are ranged along the waterfront of the Westkaai. The two towers closest to the city were completed by Basel practice Diener and Diener in 2009. The irregular fenestration and subtle colour differences of their glass facades provide the monumental quality required by the urban design, but they also have unexpected similarities to the colour and window patterns of the smaller scale dockland buildings in the wider vicinity. For the centre of the range David Chipperfield Architects have designed a pair of calm and stylistically self-contained towers in the same fine white pre-cast concrete of their building in the Novartis campus in Basel. Our contribution is a pair of monumentally simple forms in brick, with horizontal emphasis in tower 5, which faces the new Limaplein shopping square and vertical in tower 6 that faces out across the harbour and finishes the ensemble. The diversity and range of Flemish bricks allow a subtle colour difference between the pair. Tower 5 is yellow and tower 6 red, the classic colours of brickwork, but chosen in tones that make their colour highly ambiguous. Vertical and horizontal emphases are created very simply and obviously by projecting bricks. Corners are left open and the top of tower 6 extends up against the sky to give a sense of the building extending into space. Our intention is to make the towers seem both material and unreal. Tower 6 is crowned with a lit metal mesh screen. The landscape is designed by Michel Desvigne.

Extra info

Project Details:

Project Name:
Westkaai Towers 5 & 6

Project Address:
Westkaai-Kattendijkdok, Antwerp, Belgium

Kattendijkdok nv – subsidiary of Land Invest Group nv

Programme dates:
Appointed July 2012, On-site September 2013, Completion 2016

Site area:
1,200 sqm

Gross internal area (sqm):
16,500 sqm

Breakdown of uses:
Residential / commercial at ground floor

Design Team:
Tony Fretton, Jim McKinney, David Owen, Tom Appels, Guy Derwent, Daniel Buckley, Liam Madden, Neil Ferries, Henry Lau, David Kennedy

Project Architect:
Tom Appels / David Owen