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Located in the Amandus-Antheneum district in the North-East of the city, the thesis project occupies the centre of an urban block on the edge of Sint-Jansplein square. The inner-block location constitutes a foil to the main square, creating a more intimately scaled public space that is less imposing and more suitable for social interaction than the main square.

Tower Storytelling Room

Storytelling communities value a connection to nature, which makes the use of sustainable and natural construction materials appropriate for the thesis. Rammed earth has both a symbolic and literal connection to the natural world and the building expresses such a connection through its architecture and materiality.

Ground & First Floor Plans


Library Interior

Rammed Earth Models

The left model was created using subsoil I excavated from a local building site by the River Kelvin. Earth model making taught me much about the considerations that must be taken into account when constructing with the material, such as mix composition, formwork design and shrinkage moderation. The hands-on approach is the best way to learn about earth building.

The thesis is community focused and aims to serve primarily the local community of Antwerp Noord, which is a complex multicultural setting of around 35,000 inhabitants of more than 150 nationalities. It is a vibrant and dynamic neighbourhood and one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the city with notable Moroccan, Bulgarian, Chinese and Portuguese communities. At the same time however it is one of Antwerp’s most deprived neighbourhoods. With such a mix of cultures it can be possible for certain groups to become marginalised which can lead to a problem of social isolation within society. The building programme of storytelling related spaces and architectural language focusing on a multi-sensory experience, address these problems of isolation and encourages social cohesion.

Site Model in Context

Programmatic Research – Field Work

Influential Theory

Material Study

Architectural Technology Driver: Using highly sustainable rammed earth paired with conventional building materials for creating innovative forms, not previously associated with the traditional earth material. This is achieved in the design of the building’s detailing and in the methods of construction. My architectural technology in-depth study examined which qualities of concrete could be replicated using rammed earth. This provided the knowledge base for moving forward. The limitations of rammed earth due to its lack of tensile strength can be overcome by using limited instances of conventional materials in support of the main earth structure. The building is constructed partly using traditional rammed earth construction methods of tampering the walls in place and partly using contemporary high-tech prefabrication of rammed earth panel¬¬s to streamline the construction process. ¬¬¬

Exploded Detail of Rammed Earth Tower