This commission for an apartment building was won in a limited competition organised by the city of Antwerp. The mixed-use building contains fifty-one apartments, shops, and offices, and is part of a city block designed together with Flemish architects Bovenbouw, ONO Architectuur, and Dutch architects Rapp + Rapp.
The design is the second phase of a master plan to redevelop the site of a former seamen’s hostel in a dense part of the city near the docks. The different scales of the apartment building and the houses, as well as the different designs made by the architects, is a conscious attempt to make a city block with the enjoyable variety that is found in a typical street. The apartment building and the houses enclose a garden courtyard that can be entered from the surrounding streets via passages through the buildings.
The apartments in Caruso St John’s L-shaped building have wide balconies facing south and west, which extend the whole length of the façade and overlook the garden and a small park to the west. The balconies are designed as loggias, held up by figure-like columns of white precast concrete, and adding an unusual and ornamental character to the façade. The façades try to avoid the systemisation that is associated with much urban housing of this scale, to make open elevations that have a close association with the spaces that they address. On the ground floor, around the garden courtyard, are community functions including a kindergarten, studio spaces, and a café.