port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid (32)

    The new Port House in Antwerp, Belgium, is designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The project, completed in 2016, gave a new life and extended an old abandoned fire station turning it into Europe’s second largest shipping port.

    Now I’m sure you want to know which one is the first. Well it’s in Rotterdam. Its harbor was the largest in the world before Shanghai and Singapore overtook it.

    There was only one requirement in the architectural competition for the realisation of the new Port of Antwerp headquarter: the original fire station building had to be preserved and integrated into the new project.

    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    All the four facades have been considered equally important that’s why the choice of designing a modern elevated extension above the original building combining the new with the old.

    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    Do you think the transparent volume looks like a diamond? The floating transparent volume is formed of triangular facets that combined together remind of a raw diamond. Well if you didn’t know it Antwerp has been a focus of the diamond trade for several centuries and still is.

    This kaleidoscopic facade keeps changing its appearance with different daylight conditions. As usual it was dull grey when I visited it so I couldn’t see the beautiful grading effect photographers as Hélène Binet or Hufton+Crow captured.


    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    The old fire station’s courtyard is now the main reception hall for the new Port House and a glass roof encloses it allowing plenty of natural light to come in.

    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    Panoramic lifts provide access to the new extension with an external bridge in between the existing building and new glazed volume giving panoramic views of the city and port.

    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    The upper floors, within the glazed extension, host the Port of Antwerp’s offices and communal areas such as he restaurant, meeting rooms and auditorium in which is very easy to read Zaha Hadid ‘s architectural style.

    port house in Antwerp designed by architect Zaha Hadid

    With this expansion, renovation and reuse of a historic fire station integrated into its headquarters, the new Port House definitely is a reflection of the city of Antwerp.

    It can be quite tricky to get there as, of course, the Port House is located in the port area of the city but I highly recommend to see the building and join a guided tour.

    Zaha Hadidplein 1, 2030 Antwerp, Belgium


    The MAS | Museum aan de Stroom | is a museum designed by the Dutch firm Neutelings Riedijk Architects.

    The building
    The MAS was designed as a sixty-meter high tower. Every storey of the tower has been rotated a quarter turn, creating a gigantic spiral staircase. This spiral space, in which a facade of corrugated glass is inserted, forms a public city gallery. A route of escalators leads the visitors from the square up to the top of the tower.


    The façades
    Façades, floors, walls and ceilings of the tower are entirely covered with large panels of hand-cut red Indian sandstone, evoking the image of a monumental stone sculpture. The four-colour variation of the natural stone panels has been distributed over the façade on the basis of a computer-generated pattern. The spiral gallery is finished with a gigantic curtain of corrugated glass. Its play of light and shadow, of transparency and translucency turns this corrugated glass façade into a light counterweight to the heavy stone sculpture.






    The plaza
    The museum square at the base of the tower is an integral part of the design. The square has been designed in the same red natural stone as the tower and is surrounded by pavilions and terraces as an urban area for events and open-air exhibits. The central part of the square is sunken and forms a framework for the large mosaic by artist Luc Tuymans.


    Hanzestedenplaats 1, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

    Villa Cavrois modern architecture designed by the architect Mallet Stevens near Lille, France

    When in Lille I highly recommend to go a bit north-east and stop at Croix to admire Villa Cavrois, a masterpiece of Modernist architecture designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens.

    As other works of the French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, Villa Cavrois is formed of rigorous geometric shapes and simple volumes that enclose functional spaces. Every single part of the Villa has been designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens, from the garden to every single interior detail, pieces of furniture included.

    The key words to understand this modern Villa definitely are: air, light, work, sports, hygiene, comfort, and efficiency. The large mansion was organized in a simple and elegant way to offer the best possible lifestyle to the nine members of the family.

    Villa Cavrois modern architecture designed by the architect Mallet Stevens near Lille, France

    Villa Cavrois is not a manifesto of a new way of design, it is not the illustration of a theory, as was Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye instead it expresses the position of Mallet Stevens embracing the Modernist movement.


    The Villa was completed in 1932 for the Cavrois family. Unfortunately it was severely damaged when it was occupied by Nazi soldiers during World War II and after 12 years of renovation it finally opened to the public in 2015.

    The entire Villa has been brought back to life as it was originally, furniture included. The restoration work has to be admired. Most of the original parquet floor and decorative materials have been conserved and restored.

    The layout of the villa is highly functional; organised around the large entry hall which welcomes the visitors and gives access to the main communal rooms: the salon and the dining room, all linked to the garden by an external staircase.

    Villa Cavrois is a very high-tech dwelling  for that time as Mallet Stevens introduced technological amenities to provide comfort for the Cavrois family such as an elevator, central heating, an intercom, and built-in speakers (see these circular holes in the salon’s wall).

    The furniture in the kitchen and pantry are in metal that has been painted white, and Mallet-Stevens suggested that these spaces look like a clinic.

    The parents’ bathroom is a tribute to sport and hygiene, with immaculate light-coloured marble shelves, chrome drawers, and white stools.

    The kids bedroom looks like a 3D Mondrian painting with its geometry and use of primary colours. The lighting, both direct and indirect, is very delicate and elegant and the use of a polished surface on the ceiling makes the room appearing so much bigger with a very unique effect.

    This is an absolute gem to discover just outside Lille. Plus I highly recommend to join a guided tour, there’s so much to know about the Villa and the best way to discover it is through a walk accompanied by someone who can tell you all about it.

    60 Avenue du Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 59170 Croix, France
    Villa Cavrois modern architecture designed by the architect Mallet Stevens near Lille, France

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Villa Savoye is a very familiar name for everyone who studied architecture or at least has some architecture knowledge but unfortunately outside this niche Villa Savoye goes practically unknown.

    Since I’m in Paris now it was a kind of moral obligation towards my studies and educational background to go and see with my eyes this turning point Villa that internationally changed the rules of conceiving and realising Architecture.

    A manifesto for Modernity

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France


    The weekend Villa for the Savoye family was built between 1928 and 1931 in Poissy, in the western suburbs of Paris.

    This box supported only by pillars was the culmination of Le Corbusier’s research of his new architectural aesthetic summed up in his “Five Points of New Architecture” that are easily recognisable in his masterpiece. These are a list of prescribed elements to be incorporated in design to make sure a building is primarily functional.

    The house is a machine for living.


    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    The Five Points of New Architecture

    • Pilotis, the ground-level supporting columns. They elevate the building from the ground allowing the garden to flow beneath;
    • Roof garden, allows to use the flat roof terrace for domestic purposes;
    • Free plan, made possible by the elimination of load-bearing walls. It frees the interior allowing an open-plan design in which light partitions are sufficient to separate the different living areas;
    • Free-floating facade, consists of a non-load-bearing facade and they were freely placed on the pilotis;
    • Horizontal window, made possible because of the absence of load-bearing facades. They create light and airy interiors, qualities which were highly valued in that period.

    Providing a “promenade architecturale” Le Corbusier incorporates a series of ramps moving from the lower level all the way to the rooftop terraces. The house has to be experienced in the movement through the spaces.

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    For Le Corbusier, architecture has to get rid of superfluous decorations, it has to embrace the beauty of functionalism and rationalism and be built using advanced technological methods of the time in order to improve the lives of its inhabitants.

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Le Corbusier treated the terrace as a room without a ceiling, reflecting his desire to fully integrate landscape and architecture. But that’s not all, he even believed in the health benefits of fresh air and sunshine and considered time spent outdoor one of the main features of a modern lifestyle. The terrace and solarium allowed the Savoye family to spend time outdoor in the most efficient way possible following the principle that the house was a machine designed to maximize leisure.

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy near Paris, France

    Even though it was a bright and blue day when I visited it, to me Villa Savoye is in black and white as it was on my books when I was studying and learning about it. If you’re curious this is the main book I studied on.

    If you visit the Villa the architectural tour takes about an hour and goes though the entire house proving you with plenty of information about it. Absolutely well done. Guided tours are available both in French and English.

    82 Rue de Villiers, 78300 Poissy, France

    All the photography images are taken with

     Olympus OM-D E-M10 and a 14-42mm lens

    All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo

    Kiasma contempary art museum in Helsinki Finland designed by the architect Steven Holl

    The Helsinki Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, Finalnd, is the first Steven Holl architecture realisation I’ve seen so far and looking at his website I’ve just realised he designed the Danish Natural History Museum in Copenhagen, didn’t know that..this can only mean I need to book another trip there!

    The curvy or linear components of the building – including ramps, sinuous staircases and squared gallery spaces – give a sense of flow to the space and guide the visitors. Spaces are designed in a really dynamic way so that they are different in height, shape, dimensions and all these elements that intertwine give rhythm and create “a variety of spacial experiences” as Holl stated.

    Internal circulation towards the exhibition rooms flows through a long and curved ramp that allows the visitors to gradually ascend to the upper floors and get into the museum atmosphere.

    have you even seen



    One of the main and most powerful element of Kiasma is light. It enhances the features of the internal space so that it is perceived as a “silent, yet dramatic backdrop” as Steven Holl described it. Nothing could be more true.

    Natural light has a functional but even emotional role in this case, it’s so mild and delicate, it never creates strong shadows so that, if the museum is not busy, you can feel a sense of quietness and a comforting perception.

    One of the very first questions an architect faces designing an art museum is: do I want to create an art container that acts as a plain setting that will enhance the artworks contained in it OR do I want to create a landmark, a building that will itself be a work of art?

    There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. I think Steven Holl put himself in between these two opposite solutions. He conceived the Kiasma in a way that harmonize art and architecture so that the latter won’t overshadow the art it is designed to house.

    Curious to hear what you think about it.

    MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
    Plaça dels Àngels, 1
    08001 Barcelona

    All the photography images are taken with

     Olympus OM-D E-M10 and a 14-42mm lens

    All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo




    The Architecture School for the University of Greenwich in London is one of the six UK buildings shortlisted last year for the 2015 Riba Stirling Prize. Another educational building has been awarded – Burntwood School – but here is how the jury panel described Stockwell Street building:

    “Full of light and generous spaces and benefits from clear vertical circulation – the acoustics are remarkable. The architects have created cool educational spaces which can evolve over time. This is a building that will inspire future generations of architects.”  [RIBA]

    The limestone facade building is designed by the Irish firm Heneghan Peng Architects, who’s known for the realisation of the Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre, a beautiful building that becomes part of the landscape.

    The university building is located within the Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site so it was demanded to complement the surrounding historical architecture, specially because of its scale and volume, and I think it does quite well. The University shows sensitivity towards the nearby buildings thanks to the materials choices which characterize it with a modern and recognizable configuration without being too obtrusive.

    The elements that strike at first sight are its mass and materiality but these features are immediately softened by recesses and breaks within the continuity of the limestone facade which shows interesting traits thanks to the lights and shadows effect created by the large windows placed slightly backwards.

    The interior looks completely dissimilar from the outside, in fact it is characterized by an industrial look and bare spaces with the raw concrete structure left visible. On each floor the studio spaces are large and the presence of a high ceiling gives the impression of being in a tall building. The whole interior space revolves around the black steel staircase that gives a strong sense of direction and movement towards the upper levels.

    So what do you think? Would you like your University to be like this?  Or better, do you think contemporary architecture can encourage creativity and interest towards education?

    10 Stockwell St, London, SE10 9BD

    All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo


    Two years ago during Milan Design Week it was possible to access to the 9th level of Solea Tower, one of the three new luxurious residential towers in Porta Nuova, and visit one of the thirty-three apartments developed by the Italian architecture firm Caputo Partnership.

    This penthouse boasts a unique view over the new and old skyline of Milan; the large terraces give the opportunity to admire the city from a completely new perspective.

    The interior was set up by Dolce Vita Homes and curated by Nina Yashar . Beautiful is the living area, designed as a linear open space with a large living room, built on two levels, that extends out on two sides with terraces.

    The south-facing terrace is particularly impressive. It is enclosed by glazed brise soleil that gives the feeling of being in an enclosed outdoor living space, a characteristic that provides a great sense of privacy. This is a highly valuable addition to the apartment that combined with a minimalistic design allows any kind of activity to take place.

    I can easily see myself having breakfast, doing yoga, making a time-lapse capturing the sun going down behind Milan and so on.

    I appreciated also the casual and sensory atmosphere given by the inclusion of citrus trees in the terrace and the colour choice of finishes and furnishings.

    All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo

    Pin this interiors of Solea Tower in Porta Nuova, Milan, Italy, design by the italian firm Caputo Paertnership


    What a loss…Zaha Hadid, the greatest woman architect of our time, died yesterday. Crazy to read the news while I was walking nearby the Glasgow Museum of Transport she designed.
    Zaha Hadid hasn’t designed that many buildings or infrastructures in London. Her most known London’s architecture project is the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park but besides that she only designed the Evelyn Grace Academy, an educational building in Brixton, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Hyde Park and my recent discovery: the Roca Gallery, a showroom for the Spanish bathroom brand Roca.

    As every Zaha Hadid’s project this is nothing ordinary and so much more than just a product display space. First of all there isn’t any wall enclosing any space but the whole interior is a flow, a continuous stream with semi-opened zones in which Roca’s bathroom products are shown.

    The concept is brilliant and perfectly in line with Zaha’s biomorphic language of design: she reproduced the erosive effect of moving water that carves out the interior and keeps flowing really dynamically through the whole gallery. So that the semi-enclosed spaces look like water-sculpted caves with the water movement still visible on the ceiling and floor through an enthralling lines pattern.

    To me it’s like seeing the artificial version of a cave after the tide has subsided, in which the water flow imprinted on the sand is replaced in an abstract way by curvy lines carved on the floor and the daily erosive process is well reproduced by the use of dull grey gypsum vertical surfaces.

    Roca Gallery boasts an impressive open space and the walking experience has a sensational and sensorial impact (at least on me) and every element around you recalls of water flowing. Everything has been designed with the purpose of giving this sensation from the floor tiles pattern to the elongated drops-like pods used as lighting elements, shelves, seats and tables with their polished and smooth surface, plus the light installations enhance the seamlessly black and white stream movement.

    The only thing that let me uncertain is that this showroom is so overwhelming that the products that should be the protagonists unavoidably fade into insignificance. So I wonder if Roca actually benefits from displaying its products in a place that, as usual, Zaha Hadid designed ina way that it has a huge visual impact, like Roca Gallery has.

    By the way, hope that everyone who lives in London has been here, if not I suggest you to go for a Saturday stroll and, never know, you may come back home with a new bathtub. I personally love this one below, I want exactly the same, with the heart-shaped window effect included but with the ocean view please!















    If you want to experience (it’s the right word) this flagship showroom and check Roca’s bathroom products:

    Station Court
    Townmead Road
    London SW6 2PY
    Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5:30pm.
    Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.

    All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo




    Have you ever seen a foam sculpture on a coffee? Well, I have. While I was travelling in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I ventured down to Jalan Sultan, a central street in Chinatown, after seeing some impressive 3D Latte Art pics on Instagram. That’s how I found Coffee Amo. Such a lovely place!

    The entrance is quite small, not really attractive; since the coffee shop is actually on the first floor the entrance itself looks quite dark with just a staircase that leads upstairs so I guess you need to know about this place or it can be really hard to stumble upon it. The interior is just so cozy and relaxed, nicely decorated with accents of red and pop blue in a black and white wall canvas with really cute chalkboard drawings. Since I stepped in I loved the chilled out atmosphere this place has.

    The staff is really friendly and watching the barista making the foamy milk sculpture coming alive it’s just a pleasure! The result is so lovely! Too cute to drink it! After few minutes of photo shooting (as usual for me) I couldn’t help myself from staring at it before destroying that cute little face. And a plus: the coffee is actually really good. Certainly a must-go coffee shop if you are in Kuala Lumpur!

    Have you ever tried something like this? It was the first time for me so I was pretty excited! Hope to find other places maybe here in London that make 3D latte art. Tell me you know some!!



    coffee-amo-malaysia-kuala-lumpur-milk-japanese-coffee-latte-art-totoro-3D-barista-how-to coffee-amo-malaysia-kuala-lumpur-milk-japanese-coffee-latte-art-totoro-3D-barista-how-to coffee-amo-malaysia-kuala-lumpur-milk-japanese-coffee-latte-art-totoro-3D-barista-how-to coffee-amo-malaysia-kuala-lumpur-milk-japanese-coffee-latte-art-totoro-3D-barista-how-to

    coffee-amo-malaysia-kuala-lumpur-milk-japanese-coffee-latte-art-totoro-3D-barista-how-to coffee-amo-malaysia-kuala-lumpur-milk-japanese-coffee-latte-art-totoro-3D-barista-how-to

    54, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur
    Instagram @cofeeamo

    All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo