‘t Groen Kwartier: from military hospital to sustainable house units

We can’t barely believe it, but within two months all the students of Antwerp Management School will graduate. After a year of increasing our knowledge and skills, as well as becoming friends with fellow students (and maybe even professors) whom we can almost call family and with whom we made unforgettable memories, time has come to find a job, a lover, a place to live and everything else you are aiming for. Have you ever considered looking for a place comprising sustainable house units located in thé green lung of the city of Antwerp? Maybe you have not, at least not until today. Therefore, we would like to introduce the sustainable neighborhood of Antwerp to you, namely ’t Groen Kwartier.

Living at ’t Groen Kwartier equals living in one of the most extraordinary places in Antwerp, especially because of its surprising origin, even though you might be able to guess it once you’ve visited it. ’t Groen Kwartier used to be a military hospital in which injured soldiers were nursed. Due to the abolition of military service in Belgium in 1994, the hospital steady but slowly quitted its daily operations and eventually became abandoned. After ten year of vacancy, The city of Antwerp wrote a housing project and cleared the necessary funds. The site transformed into a green lung including extraordinary sustainable housing units. The architects describe the new neighborhood in three values, namely tranquility, creativity and architecture.

The former hospital rooms were renovated into spacious lofts, which look out on the whole site and the centrally located chapel, in which top chef Sergio Herman opened its prestigious restaurant The Jane. It seems like the best is yet to come, since architects are aiming to renovated the other old buildings on the site as well in order to transform it into single-family houses. Today, ’t Groen Kwartier offers a collection of different types of apartments and lofts, from social housing to spacious lofts, all depending on the size and the price range. Regardless of these last two items, there is talk of a great sense of community.

But why is called the sustainable neighborhood of Antwerp? First and foremost, the area composed of 7,7 hectare is completely car-free. Consequently, residents are able to wander under the trees without the noice and pollution of passing cars. Kids and their parents can play, sport and gather outside without worries. That concept in itself in pretty unique in the middle of the busy city of Antwerp. Above all, the architects are aiming to develop new housing units which are more compact in order to create even more open and foremost green spaces.

Apart from all the above mentioned benefits, the house units within ’t Groen Kwartier are build according to the new standards of sustainable housing. The architects did for example take measures concerning insulation and ventilation in order to minimize the energy consumption as much as possible. Also, every building is equipped with green rooftops. They even tried to incorporate a system to collect rain water, so that residents can use it to flush the toilet or to run the washing machine.

Regardless of your interest to live in this unique and foremost sustainable neighborhood, you should definitely visit it, since it offers an excellent oasis to relax, wander and enjoy yourself with some food and drinks (we highly recommend PAKT). Cheers to sustainable living!

By Anouk Verniers and Rin Verstraeten (antwerpmeetssustainability@zoho.com)


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