An Apartment Tower Designed To Help Residents Make Friends

It’s hard to foster community in a tower. This is a realization many companies are coming to about their high-rise headquarters, but the notion applies equally to high-rise housing. High-rise towers often lack common spaces that give people a reason to bump into each other or hang out informally. There’s only so much interaction that can happen as people move straight from the lobby to an elevator, then into their apartment.

Social interaction is the main goal of a new mixed-use high-rise design in Antwerp, Belgium, by C.F. Møller Architects and Brut Architecture and Urban Design.

Cities need high-rise housing to keep up with rapid urbanization, but dense, vertical design can be isolating. Even if you live in a building with 300 other people, you won’t get to know any of them if the architecture encourages you to stay in your own apartment. “You go up the elevator, into your apartment, the door closes, and there you are, stuck alone with your beautiful view,” as one Vancouver condo resident explains in the 2013 book Happy City.

C.F. Møller’s 24-story building is grouped into mini-communities. Similar apartment types (like family or student housing) are clustered together and open up into balcony space and winter gardens. Residents share an inner courtyard. There is also a communal dining area if you don’t want to eat alone in your apartment, a bike-repair facility, a roof terrace, and on the top floors of the building, a triple-height indoor garden.

While the building does not have a scheduled completion date yet, C.F. Møller partner Julian Weyer estimates it will likely open sometime in 2017.SF