The Antwerp Athenaeum
Recontextualising the Monument.
In 1943, Sigfried Giedion, in his essay on “Nine points of Monumentality” described a monument as a link between the past and the future. Monuments as civic structures, are symbols for collective ideals and accomplishments, monumentality can be seen as an architectural language that emphasises and materialises those ideals.
This thesis aims to redefine and explore the physical and metaphysical (program, space, symbolism) manifestations of monumentality.
In Antwerp, this exploration takes place at the oldest architectural artefact of the city, the Het Steen (the Stone Castle) which contains within its ensemble of components, the fortification wall of the original settlement. Now standing context-less, the “Castle” has been the subject of decades worth of gimmick face lifts, that evidently do not pass the test of time.
This project seeks to rehabilitate the existing architectural fragment, recontextualise it to the new city, and introduce a contemporary addition, reflecting the collective ideals of todays society, a future monument.
The new building, acting as an Athenaeum for the city and the Academic institutions of Antwerp, is designed with focus on accommodating environmental research and development, with facilities to connect, showcase and engage with the people of Antwerp and Belgium as a whole, whom the monument is intended for.