This is, of course, Zaha Hadid Architects. They've won a competition for a new port authority building in Antwerp.
Actually; it's a cock'n'balls:
It won the competition because apparently:
the design preserves as much as possible of the dignity of the present building as a monument, adding a new object to the site.
I'm sorry, what?
Being made into the testicles that hang beneath the new phallofractal offices is not a dignified fate for the existing building. Fair enough, lifting the new above the existing does allow the old to be mostly retained, but retention is not automatically the same as respect. There's no way the old building will ever be 'readable' in a dignified manner now, what with that member-like object thrusting out over it.
This is more honest, however:
the board and its advisors had confidence in a team such as Zaha Hadid Architects being able to further develop the project so as to achieve a high quality end result that can act as a “shop window” for the Port Authority.
Aha, the 'Brandwagon' again. This is about selling. 'Iconic' building = economic stimulus. Signature architect = investment. Architecture = advert. That's all the reading necessary, or possible here. The architectural merit of the building is precisely its imagined capacity for 'selling' the city. Now, of course, this has always been the case with architecture, but whereas there was once a notion of 'grandeur', whereby the scale, level of detail and price of materials would signify the power and status of the civic authority client, nowadays we have little more than shape, as seen in visualisations and photographs found in magazines or on the internet.
The budget is 30 million euros. That's not much, even for a 'normal' building, so the chances are that if it ever gets built, this building will quickly look rather like an unhappy shed that got lost; cackitecture, rather than the sleek, glistening cockitecture suggested from the visualisations ('what's it made out of'? 'Oh, em, shiny-white-stuff'). ZHA have previous for this sort of thing, of course, which lends a certain poignancy to their professed dynamism, but even when it's obvious that Antwerp will get a cheap, poorly built, intellectually vacant and culturally insignificant block of offices, the faith still seems to be persistent that a superficially attractive piece of starchitecture has some kind of magical effect on a civic environment, conjuring money out of thin air.
Anyway, that's enough time spent thinking about this kind of silly cack, especially as the ongoing collapse of the entire world means that this building isn't likely to end up getting built, but- as part of my pledges from new year, I'll suggest better ways of doing this kind of thing:
Now, we're not fans of Alsop by any means, but this is a less phallic, cheaper and more endearing way of doing the 'floating extension':
And this, by EMBT, is part of a far more intelligent way of preserving the 'dignity' of an existing building: