The Felix Warehouse in Antwerp
This warehouse in neo-classical style was built in 1858 to a design by architect Felix Pauwels on behalf of the Compagnie Générale de Matériels de Chemin de Fer. The warehouse was used to store bulk goods such as sugar, tobacco, tea and coffee, hops, grain, cheese, and wine. The warehouse has a stacking surface of 22 405 m2 and comprises two wings connected by an inner corridor topped by a glass roof.
The complex had an eventful history. After a fire in 1861, it was rebuilt with the addition of a glazed passage between two streets, the Oudeleeuwenrui and the Godefriduskaai. During the reconstruction commissioned by the Societé and Commandité de l'Entrepot, existing building elements such as the cast-iron columns on which wooden nut beams rest were recovered. The building continued to function as a warehouse until 1975.
In 2006 the building has given the function of the Antwerp city archive: the “Felix Archive”, after a thorough renovation by the Robbrecht & Daem architectural firm. The reading room on the sixth floor was given a new self-supporting tent-shaped roof structure. The archive of the Antwerp Port Authority is also housed there. The reading room, the inner street, and some classrooms on the ground floor are open to the public and are now a popular entertainment area with shops, cafes, and restaurants.