Baelskaai 12 (Oosteroever)

Baelskaai 12 (Oosteroever)

Conix Architects

Like many European port cities, the Belgian coastal town of Ostend is also working on transforming its old ports into a lively city district. The development project 'Oosteroever' by Versluys Bouwgroep and CFE immo which needs to provide space for living, working and recreation, covers an area of ​​twelve hectares.

The tall apartment block Baelskaai 12 is the absolute eye-catcher in this prestigious project.

With the redevelopment of the old industrial Oosteroever dock area into a new residential and business centre, Ostend is positioning itself alongside other European cities, such as Antwerp and Marseille, which revitalised their old harbour quarters. The tall apartment block Baelskaai 12 is the absolute eye-catcher in this prestigious project. 

Oosteroever is one of the biggest residential construction projects to have ever been undertaken in Belgium. It is developed by the plc of the same name, a public limited company founded by CFE Immo and Groep Versluys. The overall plan involves the construction of no fewer than 1,200 new apartments in total. "The architecture of the site breaks away completely from the typical coastal ribbon development," says Walter Leyssens, general manager at building contractor Atro (CFE Group). "We’re building in harmony with the landscape."

“The architecture of the site completely disappears from the typical elongated coastal construction, We build in harmony with the landscape”Walter Leyssens (Atro - groep CFE)

The apartment blocks have a 20 m² outdoor space and an impressive view of the dunes and the North Sea.

The quay will be completely redeveloped and the old dock will be repurposed as a marina. Restaurants, cafés, boutiques and art galleries will transform the Baelskaai into a bustling quarter, within walking distance of the centre of Ostend, the beach and the dunes. Baelskaai 12 and Victoria, the second apartment block behind it, are the first buildings to spring up on the new Oosteroever bank. ‘We are carrying out the base build of Baelskaai 12, a tower block containing 49 apartments and fourteen floors, together with sister company MBG. Versluys, our partner in the Oosteroever plc, will construct the Victoria building,’ says Leyssens.

CONIX RDBM Architects was responsible for the design of the first iconic apartment block to be built, Baelskaai 12. The 49 apartments each have an outdoor space of minimally twenty square metres and impressive views of the dunes and North Sea.

Post-stressed concrete

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the tower block is that the floor area increases on the higher floors. The floor area of the top floor is over 800 square metres. ‘The concrete structure consists of a load-bearing core with projecting floor plates and terraces,’ says Walter Leyssens. ‘The wall is not load-bearing. Because of the big cantilevered terraces, the floor plates will be post-stressed with steel cables, a technique also used in bridges. This is the first time that we are doing this in residential construction. It’s a technical and logistical challenge. Because the underlying walls and terraces will no longer be accessible after the supporting structure has been completed, the concrete wall panels will already be installed during the base-build phase.’

“The wall is not load-bearing. Because of the big cantilevered terraces, the floor plates will be post-stressed with steel cables, a technique also used in bridges.”Walter Leyssens (Atro - groep CFE)

Baelskaai 12 forms a landmark at the Oosteroever dock area.

Custom joinery

Especially for the Oosteroever project, Reynaers Aluminium developed a custom sliding window CP 130-LS with an airtightness, watertightness and wind-load resistance category suitable for high-rise buildings situated right on the coastline. For instance, the watertightness category of the sliding window system was increased to 750 Pa.

In addition to the panoramic view and aesthetics, two apartments have their own swimming pool which is 15 cm thick and unbreakable.

Sky-high swimming

The use of post-stressed floor plates offers maximum freedom of configuration of the apartments. The biggest apartment, on the top floor, will have a terrace of 173 m2 with clamped glass balustrade. "Because there are no other high-rise buildings in the area, this building will be a real landmark," Leyssens predicts. "It will also have a very luxurious feel." Here, he is not only referring to the panoramic views and aesthetics, such as the finish of the façades in white polished architectural concrete or the wooden terrace floors. "Two apartments, on the eleventh and fourteenth floor, will have their own swimming pool. The biggest will be 7.7 metres long. Both pools will be finished with a glass side wall that is 15 cm thick andunbreakable."

Allaert Aluminium
Conix Architects
Oostende, Belgium View on map
Philippe Van Gelooven
Other partners: 
MBG-Van Wellen (General contractors) Versluys Bouwgroep (General contractors)
Project solutions: 
CS 77-HI Window