AGV Free Clinic Renovation

Team Joni Nieuwenhuysen
Bruno Spaas
Location Schijnpoortweg 14 B-2060 Antwerpen
Year 2023
Client AG Vespa
Contractor Basalt Bouw
Supplier Amorim Cork

For over 40 years, Free Clinic vzw has been focusing on the most vulnerable urban residents. Over the past decades, the organization has developed a specialized outpatient program for individuals facing severe dependence issues on illegal substances. Employing a harm reduction approach, various aspects of this complex problem are addressed.

In 2010, the existing building was expanded with a new volume, enveloped in corten steel.

A few years after the completion of the new building, the corten steel facade panels are at risk of detachment in numerous areas. A 2020 investigation revealed that the vertical wooden framework is aligned with the horizontal framework, and no rain screen was installed over the roof edge. As a result, the wooden framework has been compromised by moisture, leading to decay and fungal growth in multiple areas. Cracks and perforations have developed in the membranes. The insulation materials have been compromised, resulting in a loss of their insulating capability.

Commissioned to renovate the facades in a sustainable manner, upon investigation, it is determined that the corten steel panels are not recoverable/reusable and must be completely replaced. We propose what seems to be a straightforward solution: remove everything (corten steel panels, wooden framework, and insulation). Subsequently, adhere/screw cork insulation panels to the support structure and finish with facade cork. The rhythmic pattern of the corten steel panels created an engaging facade. By providing joints in the cork panels, a similar facade rhythm is achieved.

NYR Studio

Team Joni Nieuwenhuysen
Bruno Spaas
Location New Yorkkaai 81 B-2000 Antwerp
Year 2023
Contractors Deriemaeker Kollektief (Carpentry)
Mentens Marijn (Painting)
Press Yatzer

Optical illusions have been used in architecture ever since the Greeks started messing with the visual perception of proportion, lines and angles. Throughout millennia, artists and architects have teased and intrigued by making buildings and spaces appear different from what they actually are. The interior design of NYR Studio, a 50 square meter studio apartment located in the new harbour developments in Antwerp, is a contemporary twist on this phenomenon, also known as ‘trompe l’oeil’.

NYR Studio is part of the newly built waterfront project, New York Residence, on Kattendijkdok-Oostkaai, designed by the London architectural office, Sergison Bates. Situated on the ground floor, the studio is accessible through a green and lush inner courtyard. To comprise a living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and utility room, NYR Studio has relatively few square meters, a classic studio challenge in terms of space. Yet, what it does not offer in width, it offers in height. With a more than five-meter-high ceiling, the space was calling for an intervention, to somehow make use of the verticality and create a unified atmosphere.

On all surfaces, walls, ceilings and floors, a striped pattern has been painted in two sober grey tones. Pointing in many different directions, the lines are altering the spatial perception, making the kitchen feel wider and lower and the mezzanine higher and more spacious. Strategically placed mirrors also help expanding the sense of space, like on the kitchen backdrop. The mirrors also add luminosity, as does the warm and intense yellow colour, painted inside the cabinets and throughout the entire bathroom and hallway surfaces.

With just a few yet strong operations, the stripes, the mirrors and the yellow, NYR Studio stands out as an atypical and unexpected interior, intended for short-stay visits, offering guests an uncommon and uplifting experience.