Ongoing projects

Women Building Brazil: a history of architecture from the perspective of self-building sites.(WBB). 01/09/2024 - 31/08/2026

Abstract

Women Building Brazil (WBB) seeks to underscore women's contributions to architecture and construction in Brazil, particularly in contexts of self-building. Its main objective is to address the neglect of both women and informal building practices in architectural and construction history, especially in the global South. The project will tackle that double historical gap by gathering personal stories and documentation on women builders. Its premise is that women's involvement in self-construction was actually quite common in vernacular architecture but has been affected by the introduction of new building technologies and materials. Expanding our disciplinary scope to include vernacular contexts, WBB employs a novel method combining oral history with disruptive archival research methods and community-based participatory practices, guided by feminist and decolonial principles. This approach will be applied in three territories in Brazil where self-building remains a prevalent custom: quilombos (afro-Brazilian communities), indigenous territories and favelas (urban informal settlements). These distinct settings offer new insights to help recover, analyse, and acknowledge women's construction know-how. The outcomes of WBB include an oral history archive and a public video collection. The participatory process will also generate a memory artefact, co-created with interviewed women with the purpose of recognizing their expertise and strengthening their building autonomy. In summary, WBB offers a new methodological approach to a growing field of construction history and a gendered analysis that contributes to the broader discipline of architectural history. It maintains a commitment to open science through its research methodology and participatory practices, ensuing constant dissemination of its results. Most importantly, WBB actively seeks ways of empowering women in construction, giving them voice and reaffirming the relevance of their know-how.

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  • Research Project

Benefitting from the Outdoor Environment: How to design (health)care facilities' in- and outdoor spaces to contribute to end-users' physical and mental health and well-being. 01/02/2024 - 31/01/2028

Abstract

Interacting with the outdoor environment has a positive impact on people's physical and mental health and well-being. Nevertheless, (health)care facilities are usually not designed for patients, residents, visitors, and staff to fully benefit from the opportunity to experience and use the outdoor environment. Physical, mental, and organisational obstacles impact on their interaction with the outdoor environment. These obstacles often relate to the design of in- and outdoor interior spaces, with the term "interior" referring to "with building qualities related to human dimensions and conditions." Those involved in designing interior spaces thus hold a major responsibility in creating them in such a way that they benefits patients', residents', visitors' and staff's health and well-being. A combination of design concepts that highlight the role of interior spaces in supporting patients', residents', visitors', and staff's interaction with the outdoor environment, and strategies on how to implement these concepts in designing healthcare facilities is needed. Therefore, this project aims to investigate how to design (health)care facilities' in- and outdoor interior spaces to allow patients, residents, visitors, and staff to optimally benefit from the outdoor environment, and as such to contribute to their physical and mental health and well-being. Following a design anthropology approach, the project connects the past, present, and future in a process of attuning people and environments. Past and present cases of (health)care facility that realised specific in- and outdoor interior spaces to improve patients', residents', visitors', and staff's interaction with the facility's outdoor environment, are studied through ethnography- and design-based methods. The cases on designs realised in the past will result in theoretical insights into how patients, residents, visitors, and staff experience and use in- and outside interior environments of (health)care facilities and how this impacts on their physical and mental health and well-being. The cases on ongoing designs will foreground how interaction with the outdoor environment is taken into account and materialised throughout the design process of in- and outdoor interior spaces. Finally, design workshops will allow to develop design concepts and strategies to facilitate the design of future (health)care facilities in which interaction with the outdoor environment is supported.

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  • Research Project

Appointment design team for Impact Factory Mechelen (partial assignment expertise circular construction). 11/01/2023 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

The city of Mechelen and the Stadsmakersfonds have appointed WIT Architecten to design Impact Factory, a new circular hub to emerge from the reconversion of the current 'Potterij' and an office building on Graaf van Egmontstraat. Impact Factory will provide space for offices, small-scale production, initiatives within the sharing economy, meetings and events, and aspires to become the base for the circular economy in and around Mechelen. The city of Mechelen and the Stadsmakersfonds want the Impact Factory to be realised following the principles of circular and 'change-oriented' construction. One of the project conditions was to involve an expert in this field. WIT Architecten chose Bob Geldermans, a professor at the University of Antwerp, whose work focuses on regenerative resource systems in relation to architecture. The design makes maximum use of the two vacant buildings, avoiding unnecessary building, and maximises recovery and reuse of materials and the use of natural materials. Moreover, Impact Factory integrates education and research activities, optimising the exchange of knowledge and skills in the transition from linear to circular built environments.

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Project website

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Porosity of Building Structures: tracing multilayered changes to converted buildings. 01/11/2022 - 31/10/2024

Abstract

The harmful effects of the building industry on our environment pose an increasing pressure on the development of new sustainable practices of construction. This project aims at laying the scientific foundation of basic design strategies to develop longer-lasting and more adaptable load-bearing structures of buildings, which are considered the most permanent building part and which hold the vast majority of embodied carbon. However, to design for change, change must first be understood. Through the empirical analysis of existing rehabilitated buildings, this project will generate novel insight into how and under which constraints buildings can indeed change, connecting findings from academic research and architectural practice.

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  • Research Project

Crafting Circularity – Rethinking Sustainable Design and Construction in Architecture Education (CIRC-ARCH). 28/02/2022 - 27/02/2025

Abstract

Based on the limitations of resources we face, the project explores a paradigm shift: designing architecture with availabilities. This puts the architect in a new role within the design and construction process which challenges architecture education fundamentally. Therefore, new methods, tools and processes in architecture education must be found and established. Architects are essential agents in the necessary shift for a sustainable construction sector as they develop ideas, shaping buildings and our infrastructure, essentially choosing building materials and moderating building processes. While researchers and practitioners have taken on the issue and explore alternatives based on the circular use of materials, construction parts or buildings, the education of architects is still largely disconnected with the reflection of new design strategies for a more sustainable built environment. The actual design practice in architectural education needs to be connected to the state-of-the-art knowledge about sustainable design, students and teachers need to establish and train resource (availability) based design as a new paradigm in our building culture. And there needs to be a broader understanding of what sustainability and circularity mean and what they can bring to the very different within the European context. Embedding circular thinking and making actual objects in the very context of places are powerful elements of architectural education that need to be tools in future-proof architecture curricula.

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  • Research Project
  • Education Project

Structures of permanence and change – Modelling adaptability based on converted buildings. 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2025

Abstract

This research project aims to understand how buildings change over their lifetime if they are adapted. If buildings are not or cannot be used anymore, their very characteristic design, particularly its building structure, often prevents it from being adapted to new possible functions leading to vacancy and, consequently, demolition. Obsolescence is by far the main reason for demolition — and mostly of rather young buildings: Their service life (ca. 40 years) is thus much shorter than its physical life expectancy (min 80-100 years). Understanding the circumstances of change, first of its use and then of the building, and which components prevent or allow necessary transformations or extensions, forms a substantial basis for the design of new buildings. Such knowledge of change is largely missing. Building both on a detailed analysis of various case studies along their adaptations and the agency of stakeholders in the building industry, the project will model adaptability empirically to show how building functions, construction systems and materials are connected, and which paths of sustainable building design are most likely to produce long-living buildings.

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  • Research Project

The royal museums of art and history: the history of its buildings ans its collections based on the museum's archives (RMACH). 15/09/2020 - 14/09/2030

Abstract

Leaving aside a handful of recent scientific articles, the only general publication on the history of the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH), its buildings and the development of its collections is a Liber Memorialis, published in 1985 on the occasion of the museum's 150th anniversary. While the latter publication was aimed at a general public, no other encompassing scientific and critical study on the history of the RMAH that attempts at tracing this history against the background of broader (inter)-national socio-political and cultural developments, has so far been published, despite the fact that vast amounts of unstudied documentation are looming in the museum's institutional archives. Henceforth, the RMARCH project focusses on the history of the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH), based on its institutional archives. In collaboration with the archivist of the RMAH, the FED-tWIN researcher will work on eliminating the enormous backlog in archival description, (online) access and digitalisation of the RMAH institutional archives with the specific aim to make these archives available to the general public but also for further scientific research. Following the reorganisation of these archives, several research questions will be addressed that ultimately will result in a new critical and scientific study on the history of the RMAH. Special attention will be devoted to the various historical buildings of the different museums that form the RMAH but also to the different actors that were responsible for the development of its collections.RMARCH proposes a multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional approach that will build on the expertise of past and current research projects in both the RMAH and the University of Antwerp (UAntwerpen). The research opportunities that will emerge from opening up this important institutional archive will not only allow the FED-tWIN researcher with his/her focus and profile in archival studies and architectural history to rewrite the history of the RMAH but also to play a crucial role in connecting, moderating and advancing them into the broader field of heritage studies. These are ranging from archival and (art and architectural) historical research to conservation and restoration but also in new research fields such as digital humanities and the development of digital documentation, data visualisation and imaging technologies. In this respect, the synergy between the disciplines Heritage Studies and Conservation-Restoration of the Faculty of Design Sciences of the UAntwerpen also offers a unique opportunity to deeply embed this project into academic education and training and in cooperation with the two research groups Henry van der Velde and Heritage & Sustainability.

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  • Research Project

Past projects

Spider Models Research. Mapping the diversity to compare the degree of professionalisation of the Interior Architecture discipline in each country (WP 5-7). 01/03/2023 - 20/12/2023

Abstract

This study executed for the European Council of Interior Architects ECIA, examines the differences in the degree of professionalisation between European countries. Second, it investigates what kind of knowledge professional organisations in Europe need to professionalise the discipline. It does so by looking how the discipline is regulated in the various European countries by three components, education, professional organisations and by the law. This research is a subproject of the European funded ECIA-BCSP project: Building on connections for a stronger profession.

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  • Research Project

Spider Models Research. Mapping the diversity to compare the degree of professionalisation of the Interior Architecture discipline in each country (WP 1-4). 01/09/2022 - 30/06/2023

Abstract

This study executed for the European Council of Interior Architects ECIA, examines the differences in the degree of professionalisation between European countries. Second, it investigates what kind of knowledge professional organisations in Europe need to professionalise the discipline. It does so by looking how the discipline is regulated in the various European countries by three components, education, professional organisations and by the law. This research is a subproject of the European funded ECIA-BCSP project: Building on connections for a stronger profession.

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Project website

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

The neutralisation of urban space through relocation in post-revolutionary Cairo during late neoliberal authoritarianism. 15/07/2022 - 14/07/2023

Abstract

This research examines how interests in power domination manifest themselves in the built environment, in a process we called the political 'neutralization' of urban space. For this, it examines the situation in Egypt, where the government is using urban design to depoliticise public space by impeding various forms of inappropriate use. This is reflected in an unprecedented pace of urbanisation, relocation and resettlement since 2014. Also some special control mechanisms are deployed in these new spaces, such as systematic exclusion, segregation, and deep surveillance. The local idiosyncrasies, trends, such as neoliberalisation, multi-coloured citizenship, depoliticization, camps and financialization, are both global trends and local events relevant to the concept of neutralisation. Studying the recent archetypes of relocation in Egypt allows us to understand these global ideas in their Egyptian political and historical context, as well as the translation of politics and hegemony into spatial forms. The neutralisation process is studied by means of two complementary cases that cover various aspects of the process: the Maspero neighbourhood in central Cairo, and the public housing project 'Tahia Masr' in al-Asmarat on the outskirts of the city. These two case studies make it possible to uncover the precise mechanisms by which design is involved in this disruption and reduction of urban multiplicity and territoriality. They illuminate how the process of neutralisation involves the shedding of the multiplicity of scripts present in spaces and territoriality, and their reduction to a single formal spatial script that leads to a unified territorial dominance.

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  • Research Project

SOPAC Structures of permanence and change – evidence-based mapping of adaptability based on reused modern buildings. 01/07/2021 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

The load-bearing structure of a building is not only the most permanent layer of a building, it is also the most energy intensive. It should thus be designed and constructed to serve not only a first lifespan of a building but also enable its reuse and allow adaptations for new functions. To understand how structure are most likely adapted and they are allowing or preventing change around them, this project studies reused and adapted modern buildings. Following this evidence-based approach, it also discusses the design paths of the stakeholders in the renovation process to connect the structure with its context as well as the desired and undertaken changes. The findings of these object histories will be mapped in spatial CAD models and, eventually, formalized in schematic diagrams with zones of adaptability related to functions and the structural layout. Providing a novel modeling approach of permanence and change in a building, the general findings can further used for new design process of fundamentally adaptable buildings and further research into adaptability modeling.

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  • Research Project

Visualising 'material spatial dimension of waste flows' in the province of Antwerp (ATLANTES). 01/06/2021 - 31/05/2023

Abstract

Flanders and the Province of Antwerp aim to reduce the footprint of raw material consumption by 30% towards 2030, focusing more on circular economy (CE). This project aims to support the CE approach by developing an online platform that visualizes the waste flows from and to the province of Antwerp. After all, thanks to the analysis of waste flows, governments and public institutions can maximize the impact of their policy choices and the results achieved in this CE transition. In addition, it enables companies to trace their waste materials at a provincial level, but also to develop new production processes in which they also reuse their waste materials.

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  • Research Project

Foreseeing Partnership. 22/04/2021 - 30/06/2021

Abstract

This study reports on the research trajectory, conducted by the Design Sciences Hub at the University of Antwerp, and discusses the vision for the transformation of the Mechelse Vesten from a traffic to a residential area. Based on a critical exploration of the current state of the project and the process, an 'expert advice' is developed to better and more broadly prepare - both the project management and the city council - for what is to come: in the short term the introduction of one-way/temporary interventions (2022) and in the longer term complete facade-to-facade redevelopment (2023-2029). To this end, lessons from international example projects are brought together from three angles: the critical success factors in radical urban transformations, anticipating uncertainties in project management, and building capacity for change through targeted participation processes. Weighed in with a critical analysis of contemporary Vests, these insights are then translated into a first pitch in order to shape a supported dream image together with the client, the City of Mechelen. The design is not only focused on the end result, but is above all a method for conducting the debate about the new Vesten, to formalize programming requirements, and to find a supported vision from the city council and other stakeholders.

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  • Research Project

Testing a research design and writing a report. 01/11/2020 - 01/10/2021

Abstract

This preliminary research focuses on the regulation of the profession of Interior Architect in Europe - regulation by education, by law and national professional organisations. It has been conducted on behalf of ECIA, the European umbrella organisation of interior architecture national professional organisations. The aim of this short term study is to develop a research methodology - by studying the situation within three member countries (France, Norway and Germany) - that can be applied in a follow up study on the professionalization process of all ECIA member states. The study comprehends three phases: (1) a descriptive study, (2) a normative study and (3) writing the final report and recommendations.

Researcher(s)

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  • Research Project

Lost in Representation: Investigating the Material Agency of Media in the Architectural Design Process. 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

The research project departs from the observation that the invention of new types of media for architectural representation in history coincides with developments in architectural paradigms and styles at the time. The project proposes to examine this apparent relationship by (1) developing an original contribution to architectural history through the analysis of six case studies and (2) by building a conceptual framework within which to understand the active role these media have in the formation of ideas, designs, and knowledge, focused on the material qualities of these media. The research will study (1) the transformation of military cartography into architectural drawings in 17th century France, in relation with the advent of geometrical landscape design; (2) the commercialisation of tracing paper in 18th century Central-Europe, in relation with the rise of eclecticism in architecture, (3) the adoption of casts and moulds as a means of studying architecture in 19th century Western Europe, in relation with an accelerated development of architectural eclecticism, (4) the commercialisation of photography at the turn of the century, in relation with the modernist avant-garde, (5) the use of collage in architectural practice of the midtwentieth century, coinciding with a visionary, speculative architecture, (6) the implementation of Computer Aided Drawing in architectural practice by the end of 20th century, in relation to parametric design.

Researcher(s)

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  • Research Project

The Iron Column: Understanding Architecture for its Material Manufacture. 15/07/2020 - 14/07/2021

Abstract

In architecture, the material presence of buildings is often understood as the expression of other, immaterial concerns. This holds true in both architectural research and the education of architects. (Thomas 2007, Moravánszky 2017). This PhD project reverses the approach, focusing directly on the material itself and its role in architecture. In order to do so, it provides an in-depth study of the introduction of the iron column as a building element from 1840. Three historical cases demonstrate the transformations engendered by this new material and its influence on the common architectural vocabulary. As such, it combines the perspectives of practice-based building analysis to illuminate the genesis of the design, and architecture theory, discussing the meaning of a material as part of a building culture. Three well known public buildings in Europe from 1872 (Bibliothèque Nationale Paris, Henri Labrouste), 1906 (Sparkasse Vienna, Otto Wagner) and 1968 (Nationalgalerie Berlin, Mies van der Rohe) are revisited as material 'micro-histories'. All projects can be considered hinge points in their use of respectively cast iron, rolled iron, and steel. Specific drawing techniques and material biographies traced the iron through delving, production, and different design steps to the final work. In all three cases the technical evolution of iron fundamentally challenged architectural conventions, and afforded the formulation of new architectural ideas. In each case, the architects' working drawings and sketchbooks provide insight into the process of learning to read, understand and apply these material innovations. The second part of the research focused on how a material innovation becomes integrated into an existing building culture. The archeological method of 'seriations': series of iron columns drawn of buildings relevant for the cases, reveal how material concepts grow, disappear and resurface, in a continuous process of (re)charging. As a whole, the PhD defines methods and a vocabulary to address the role of materials in the design process, as a driver for the evolution of building culture and it describes the knowledge needed in architecture to work from materials. It provides a theoretical framework for understanding mechanisms of material transformation, as a process informed by both innovation and continuities. This new awareness will help to address future material practices and the integration of material innovations in building culture.

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  • Research Project

The meaning and impact of the concept of societal awareness on the design process of the interior and the role of the interior architect 01/07/2020 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

In a complex society that deals with many contemporary society-related challenges (e.g. social cohesion, multiculturalism, poverty, sustainability and migration) societal awareness has become an important competence for the designer in general and for the interior architect in particular. Triggered by these challenges and influenced by evolutions within the behavioural sciences, there is a growing attention for the interior as 'a social/shared space' and for the 'ethical position' of the interior architect. Both concepts are directly related to the prior more general concept of societal awareness. The central research question of this STIM research project is threefold: to investigate within the discipline of interior architecture (i) what are the alternative meanings of the concept of societal awareness, (ii) what are the implications for the design process of interior, and (iii) what are the required competences of future interior architects to guarantee a societal aware design process? As far as the research method is concerned, we choose for an explorative approach in line with the key features of qualitative research. Four complementary research techniques will be used: (i) an explorative literature study, (ii) a case-study research on a design practice, (iii) a case-study research on an academic design method and (iv) approximately 10 half-structured interviews with academic and vocational experts. This STIM research proposal corresponds with the overall research perspective of the research group Henry van de Velde (HvdV, Faculty of Design Sciences). In particular it does not only relate to recently launched research initiatives of Nathalie Vallet, Inge Somers and Michelle Bylemans, but also to research initiatives conducted over the last five years in several interior design studio's FOW (i.e. research-teaching nexus). Finally, this STIM research proposal corresponds also with the Antwerp University research priorities on the metropole and the social-economic policy and organization. The output of the STIM project consists of a paper voor het IDEC conference (2021), 2 discussion memos, 1 publication in a peer-reviewed journal in the discipline of interior architecture and an input for a FOW proposal Aspirant Fundamenteel Onderzoek (2022).

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  • Research Project

The emergence of interior architecture in Belgium, 1945-1999. Assessing the impact of education on the identity formation of the design discipline 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

In many Western countries, the field of interior architecture is characterised by an on-going identity crisis. The confusion becomes apparent via the diverse nomenclature: interior architecture, interior design and interior decoration. Furthermore, the discipline was often (and still is) perceived as feminine and amateurish. Attempts to correct this image have significantly characterised the professionalisation of interior design since World War II. This is particularly noticeable in the field of education. Contemporary interior design courses are still challenged to define themselves and to address their gendered image. Vocational courses have now achieved academic status, but in which ways did this change the identity of the profession? This project takes Belgium as a case study because of its diverse and bilingual educational landscape. The programmes in interior design are rooted in different traditions: the Beaux Arts tradition and the Arts & Crafts. How did interior design evolve in relation to these distinct educational branches? To address this, the project aims to develop detailed genealogies of all interior design courses in Belgium up until 1999, the year of the Bologna Declaration. Furthermore, a new method will be elaborated and refined for assessing the role of education in the identity formation of interior design. This method will also provide a thematic framework for international comparative research.

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  • Research Project

Architect, Engineer or 'Builder'? Design and construction practice in post-independence Pune (India). 09/12/2019 - 08/12/2020

Abstract

In 1996 an Indian architect wrote: 'My architecture is only 2'6" deep [referring to the building facade], since the rest of the plan is determined by the building bylaws and developers.' The architecture of India's booming cities is indeed widely criticised for being mediocre. Yet, it is precisely in large cities that architects have successfully competed with licensed civil engineers and building contractors. The latter used to be more commonly in charge of design and construction, and effectively so. If not for their design skills, why did architects come to be important actors in building up India's cities? Through a historical investigation of the Indian architect's discourse, knowledge circulation, professional network, nature of practice and the residential architecture of their hand, this dissertation reveals how in the 1960s, architects distinguished themselves from others who designed built form. It is argued that the architects' self-portrayal as experts on taste was necessary to obtain legitimacy and to sustain the profession's existence, but with changing patronage became irrelevant, leading to an identity crisis. By engaging with Bourdieu's theory of distinction and Gieryon's 'boundary-work' the thesis reveals the historical roots of today's impasse in the profession. It illustrates how cultural and social capital, besides the possession of professional skills, are critical in shaping professionalization trajectories in a postcolonial context.

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  • Research Project

In situ pro toto. The post-war construction site as a pars pro toto of the building practice. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2023

Abstract

This research project studies the evolution of small, medium and large post-war construction sites in an international comparative perspective. By doing so, the project aims to shift away from the traditional architectural historical research and critique, which focuses on the architectural design and the built result, monofunctional studies on materials or experts in the field. By focusing on the building process, an integrated social and cultural approach is the point of departure. This cultural approach aims to demonstrate how different actors in the field collaborated (or not) and how besides designs, also words, hands and tools constructed our built environment. By doing so, the project not only answers the recurrent contemporary need to understand the evolution of our architectural practice, but also fills a gap in the current international debate within the field of construction history. Moreover, the construction site as a locus for theoretical reflection focuses the developing discourse on architecture as material culture through the lens of its practices.

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  • Research Project

Communities of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways of Knowing (TACK). 01/09/2019 - 31/08/2023

Abstract

'TACK / Communities of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways of Knowing' is an Innovative Training Network within the European Framework Program Horizon 2020. It focuses on understanding the specific knowledge that architects use when designing buildings and cities. TACK gathers ten academic institutions, three architectural institutions and nine architecture offices to offer a PhD training program on the nature of tacit knowledge in architecture, with ten PhD projects situated in three clusters and one overview project. 'Approaching tacit knowledge' investigates tacit knowledge from a theoretical and methodological perspective. It examines how material vectors, such as drawings, plans and models function as mediators of tacit knowledge. 'Probing tacit knowledge' addresses concrete cases of how tacit knowledge operates. It investigates the implicit codes and conventions of contemporary architectural practice and the role of tacit knowledge in negotiating the complex assemblages of architectural practice, design and teaching. 'Situating tacit knowledge' develops new theoretical concepts and new heuristic approaches to examine tacit knowledge in architectural practice. It explores how value-systems inherent to specific cultural contexts affect the perception of tacit knowledge in architecture, and how self-reflexivity can clarify the functioning of tacit knowledge. 'Transmitting tacit knowledge' investigates how tacit knowledge operates in architectural teaching and learning, and which methods and which tools are employed to transmit tacit knowledge in architectural pedagogy. As a whole, the network explores and conceptualizes the very character of tacit knowledge to better understand its possible roles in addressing new and pressing issues in the built environment from alternative vantage points.

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Project website

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  • Research Project

Architecture's Afterlife: The Multi-sector impact of an architectural qualification (AAMSIAQ). 01/09/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

This study's principal aim is to identify the multi-sector impact of an architecture degree within the context of Europe and the extent to which skills taught to architecture students are needed in other sectors. Its main objectives are to, (1) To map the extent to which architecture graduates are migrating into other creative and cultural sectors, across EU members-states and draw country-specific comparisons, (2) explore which industries architecture graduates are migrating towards, and to map their advancement levels within these sectors, (3) identify which skills are most transferable between different sectors, those that are most valuable, and in which sectors skills shortages are situated (4) assess the potential positive impact upon the architecture industry and upon the affected sectors, (5) assess the impact for HE curricula, with a view to identifying key trans-disciplinary skills, and (6) to yield outcomes that benefit students, academe and industry.

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Project type(s)

  • Education Project
  • Research Project

Architect, Engineer or 'Builder'? Design and construction practice in post-independence Pune (India). 01/02/2019 - 08/12/2019

Abstract

In 1996 an Indian architect wrote: 'My architecture is only 2'6" deep [referring to the building facade], since the rest of the plan is determined by the building bylaws and developers.' The architecture of India's booming cities is indeed widely criticised for being mediocre. Yet, it is precisely in large cities that architects have successfully competed with licensed civil engineers and building contractors. The latter used to be more commonly in charge of design and construction, and effectively so. If not for their design skills, why did architects come to be important actors in building up India's cities? Through a historical investigation of the Indian architect's discourse, knowledge circulation, professional network, nature of practice and the residential architecture of their hand, this dissertation reveals how in the 1960s, architects distinguished themselves from others who designed built form. It is argued that the architects' self-portrayal as experts on taste was necessary to obtain legitimacy and to sustain the profession's existence, but with changing patronage became irrelevant, leading to an identity crisis. By engaging with Bourdieu's theory of distinction and Gieryon's 'boundary-work' the thesis reveals the historical roots of today's impasse in the profession. It illustrates how cultural and social capital, besides the possession of professional skills, are critical in shaping professionalization trajectories in a postcolonial context.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Lost in Representation: Investigating the Material Agency of Media in the Architectural Design Process. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

The research project departs from the observation that the invention of new types of media for architectural representation in history coincides with developments in architectural paradigms and styles at the time. The project proposes to examine this apparent relationship by (1) developing an original contribution to architectural history through the analysis of six case studies and (2) by building a conceptual framework within which to understand the active role these media have in the formation of ideas, designs, and knowledge, focused on the material qualities of these media. The research will study (1) the transformation of military cartography into architectural drawings in 17th century France, in relation with the advent of geometrical landscape design; (2) the commercialisation of tracing paper in 18th century Central-Europe, in relation with the rise of eclecticism in architecture, (3) the adoption of casts and moulds as a means of studying architecture in 19th century Western Europe, in relation with an accelerated development of architectural eclecticism, (4) the commercialisation of photography at the turn of the century, in relation with the modernist avant-garde, (5) the use of collage in architectural practice of the midtwentieth century, coinciding with a visionary, speculative architecture, (6) the implementation of Computer Aided Drawing in architectural practice by the end of 20th century, in relation to parametric design.

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Project type(s)

  • Research Project

To Be Seen: Nubian Displacement and en-gendered Resistance in 'Public' Space. 15/07/2018 - 14/07/2019

Abstract

This project investigates how gender relations become manifest in the design, uses and representations of the built environment of displaced Nubians, an African population that was displaced and resettled in 1964, under a development-induced displacement and resettlement (DIDR) scheme. It does so in order to develop a toolkit for designers who want to work with marginalized communities. Gender aspects of disposition and post-displacement architecture are both under-theorized themes in DIDR literature in general. Nevertheless, resettled societies are often averse to their built environment as it does not satisfy their cultural and socio-economic needs. Women in particular, often suffer great losses in their status and the quality of their spaces. The case of Nubians in particular is understudied in most of its aspects, as it was unavailable for independent research since 1960's. This research intends to fill this gap as it scrutinises from a gender perspective the spaces of displacement used by Nubians in Egypt. A single case-study approach is employed, as the research sheds light on the Nubian settlement of Qustul, a medium-sized settlement which is also the home town of the researcher. The research approach is largely informed by feminist literature and post positive epistemology. The project uses ethnographic methods for collecting and processing data, and especially auto-ethnographic tools that position the researcher as a displaced person, a Nubian, and a woman; all of which are factors influencing data acquisition and processing. The research has explored a toolkit with participatory observations, experiential drawings, and innovative mapping techniques in order to characterize other space dynamics, more concerned on the gendered experience. This research argues that spaces of forced resettlement act as a tool of spatial violence that disenfranchises displaced people, especially women. So far, the research has produced maps of spaces and spatial tactics that offer resistance against spatial violence. These maps will form the point of departure to extract ontological lessons about the gendered spatial production and the concepts of public and private space. Eventually, it will result in a moral and tactical toolkit for architects, urbanist, and planners.

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  • Research Project

Healthy corridors as drivers of social housing neighbourhoods for the co-creation of social, environmental and marketable NBS (URBiNAT). 01/06/2018 - 31/03/2024

Abstract

URBiNAT focuses on the regeneration and integration of deprived social housing urban developments through an innovative and inclusive catalogue of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) ensuring sustainability and mobilising driving forces for social cohesion. Interventions will be focused on the public space to co-create with citizens new urban, social and nature-based relations within and between different neighbourhoods. Taking the complete physical, mental and social well-being of the citizens as its main goal, URBiNAT will develop the co-creation of healthy corridor as an innovative and flexible NBS, which itself integrates a large number of micro NBS emerging from community-driven design processes, in order to boost environmental, economic and social sustainability and cohesion. URBiNAT consists of a worldwide consortium of academic and business partners around 7 European cities that will act as living laboratories (WP2) to implement healthy corridor solutions in well identified social housing neighbourhoods. These laboratories will also assess the corridor's ecological, cultural, social and economic impacts. From west to east, the cities of Porto, Nantes and Sofia will act as frontrunners based on their demonstrated experience in the innovative use of public space with NBS. From south to north, the cities of Siena, Nova Gorica, Brussels and Høje-Taastrup will share and replicate URBiNAT concepts and methodologies, acting as 'followers' (Figure 1). Each city will be supported by local partners, associations and research centres, as well as by 'horizontal' centres, universities and companies which link between cities. These actors will together create a living lab (WP2), deliver a multichannel strategy for active citizenship (WP3), implement a healthy corridor and an NBS catalogue (WP4), while monitoring impacts (WP5), disseminating knowledge (WP6) and marketing solutions (WP7) as results. Together, they will form an inclusive community of practice (CoP) in collaboration with non-European partners, including in China and Iran, as well as with NBS observers based in Brazil, Japan, Oman and a Chinese city, bringing experiences and an international dimension to the project. HEALTHY CORRIDORS (HC), with a customized NBS catalogue, will be co-created and co-planned for the frontrunner and follower cities, testing an innovative and inclusive urban model to regenerate deprived districts, specifically within and linking social housing neighbourhoods. Participative-design will be the cornerstone approach in achieving new models of urban development, and design thinking process and methods will underpin the creation of Healthy Corridors with NBS. In this sense, URBiNAT sets three major goals responding to three levels of action: 1) at the local level, to promote social cohesion through the activation of living lab and engagement of a Community of Practice [WP2 and 3]; 2) at a transversal level, to achieve new models of urban regeneration through an innovative public space: healthy corridors concept and the NBS catalogue [WP4]; 3) widespread, with the monitoring, dissemination and market replication of the knowledge produced and demonstrated [WP5, 6 and 7]. Finally, URBiNAT will develop business cases based on market potential, as well as policy recommendations regarding best-practice NBS, that provide information about the benefits and costs of NBS. This will include social, environmental and economic impacts, as well as the comparison of different NBS business propositions and alternative solutions. Through the development of solid business cases co-created with the engagement of local communities, URBiNAT will ensure long-term sustainability. Business cases will also include business products for the social and solidarity economy, free-of-charge solutions, and economic growth opportunities for new NBS.

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  • Research Project

Abn exploration of the use references in art and design practice. 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

The use of references is an important part of artistic and design practice. Nevertheless, references are commonly used as a tool during the creative process and as a means of justificati on or contextualisation in the final creation. However, the exact role of the reference within the creative process remains largely unexposed or inarticulate. Thus, when the reference is used as part of a discourse, it often remains unclear whether the reference actually played a substantial role during the creation or design process (post-rationalization). Both aspects, namely the use of references in both creation and discourse, seem to be somewhat affiliated to the use of scientific references. Given the recent 'academizati on' of the arts, a better understanding seems appropriate. This would already benefit the scientific discourse within the practice, education and research. The architecture faculties are subjected to the same academic process and are currently in search of ways to establish design and artistic values within architectural culture in this new environment driven by the scientific mentality of the Flemish universities. The aim of this project is to uncover the use of references as a part of the artistic process and discourse, to open up the conversation, to describe, analyze, compare, demonstrate and define it. We intend to bring the shared epistemic culture of arts and design to the attention of the academic world (Heintz et al., 2004, Kurath, 2015). To this end, we want to interview six artists, including designers, study their works and describe, analyze, contextualize and indicate their use of references. Another ambition of this project is to explore the possibilities and qualities of non-written output in artistic research and design research in architecture. In this exploratory method, in which researcher and research subjects collaborate on a product that serves as a research object, research and result partially coincide. The methodology consist of five steps with corresponding tools: 1. Inspire by means of a literature study and resource study; 2. Visualize and 3. Analyze by using research subjects; 4. Display -by means of an exhibition; 5. Discourse and debate by means of a symposium. The outcome of the project includes: a bundling and analysis of the research material,an exhibition catalog and a panel discussion report (symposium). The intention is to postpone a follow-up, with this project being considered as a necessary preliminary step to develop a method.

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  • Research Project

Housing preferences and home culture in Flanders 30/11/2017 - 31/01/2018

Abstract

In this project the meaning of home and living will be explored in terms of location and housing typology. Which housing typologies are suitable for living in the future? Which housing typology do the young generations in Flanders prefer? Which typologies are desirable?

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  • Research Project

Towards the development and installation of a Care IEP-site 01/11/2017 - 31/10/2019

Abstract

On the basis of two previously realized explorative research projects, we develop and implement a strategic-spatial blueprint for a (real) IEP-site in the city of Mechelen . This site is focused on the inclusive economic participation of the vulnerable target group of youngsters with a low education level. The economic activities are situated within care industries (e.g. food services, clothing, recycling shops, ...). Besides the blue print the project also implies a test-phase of six months. This project is financed by the ESF.

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  • Research Project

Re-design of historical sites in view of future societal challenges and policy-wise priorities of local governments 01/05/2017 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

The Ursulinen Institute in Sint-Katelijne-Waver, the colony in Wortel-Merksplas and the Fortress in Mortsel are public historical heritage sites that have (partly) lost their function over the years. As such, a new destination and function has to be found that takes into account (i) new societal challenges and associated (strategic) policy priorities of local governments, and (ii) the conservation and protection of the historical value . To find such a new destination, the method of research by design can be used. Thus, looking for different design alternatives results in new insights and thus inspirational input for the respective re-design initiaitives. Because of their methodological expertise, researchers of the University of Antwerp (faculty of design sciences, Henry van de Velde research group) will assist Kempens Landschap (public owner off these sites) in search of a suited re-destination of these sites.

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  • Research Project

From sociobiology to urban metabolism: landscape design, ecology and engineering in Belgium (1900-2016). 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

Today, landscape design plays an increasingly important role in ecological development and infrastructure planning, leading to a disciplinary realignment between landscape designers, ecologists and engineers. Current research and design proposals on 'metropolitan landscapes' in Belgium tie in with international trends in design, based on two main concepts: (1) a balance between 'the urban' and 'the natural' and (2) the potential of landscape design to act as an integrative instrument for several disciplines and experts. However, these concepts are not new. This PhD project aims at mobilizing a historical understanding of the role of landscape design in relation to: (1) a complex field of knowledge production, policy making and planning and (2) shifting conceptions of city and nature in Belgium since the early 20th century. In doing so, the research adds academic and indeed historical profundity to current design discourse as well as contributes to recent developments in urban history. The research follows an inductive method: an original contribution to existing historiography and theory in the field is built up through case study analysis. The PhD is based on three case studies which allow to explore shifting alliances between designers, scientists, engineers and policy makers in Belgium between 1900 and today, with Brussels as geographical focus: (1) ca. 1900-1929: biologist Jean Massart and landscape designer/urban planner Louis Van der Swaelmen, who developed an 'ethologic' view on landscape design and a 'sociobiologist' theory on urban planning; (2) 1951-1989: landscape designer René Pechère and the Service of the Green Plan, reconciling landscape design and engineering within the conception of the Belgian territory as a garden; (3) 1974-2016: biologist Paul Duvigneaud and the Brussels Agglomeration, developing the scientific field of urban ecology and bringing it into practice in designs of parks, corridors and networks for the Brussels Region. Following a literature review, these case studies are subject to a network, discourse as well as design analysis, with the following questions in mind: In which (inter)national networks did landscape designers operate? Which discourses on the urban and the natural were developed? In what sense were terms as 'sociobiology', 'biotechnics' and 'metabolism' used and how did their meaning evolve? How did the alliance with ecology and infrastructure affect the design and vice versa? The case study research is based on published sources as well as archival research, in the two most recent cases complemented by interviews. The PhD research develops a new methodological approach charting transformation of landscape design through its shifting relations with other disciplines. Moreover, it offers new perspectives on on-going academic discussions, in both urban history and urban design, and uncovers a new body of archival and other sources. The project is especially innovative because: (1) it approaches ecology and engineering from a landscape design perspective, which will introduce a new way of studying disciplines and fields of knowledge that have until now very often been studied separately; (2) it introduces ideological, sociocultural and aesthetical perspectives in a hitherto technical discussion; (3) it will set a crucial step in the development of landscape design history in Belgium as an academic discipline.

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  • Research Project

Renew School. 01/10/2016 - 28/02/2017

Abstract

RENEW SCHOOL School buildings in Antwerp in search for generous transformations… In the research of the studio Patrimony, we examine the value of existing urban heritage. Not just financial value, but also (and perhaps especially) cultural value interests us. Why are buildings (or why do they become) dear to us? Through research and analysis of existing buildings, we will try to discover their qualities, so that we can re-use them -- fragments or ensembles -- and also re-interpret them in new structures and buildings. The research is broad: cultural, contextual, material, structural and technical ... We will examine the way that existing, mono-functional [a.o. residential, commercial,…] buildings from the recent past may be (or can be made to be) useful and convenient with respect to the lifestyles and housing, working and recreational needs of future generations. Which resources can we use in order to, with respect to history, context, cultural sustainability, etc. give these buildings a new future? And: How do we create (new) buildings, lovingly cherished by future generations… ABSTRACT FOR THIS SPECIFIC RESEARCH; "RENEW SCHOOL" This specific research of the studio Patrimony will focus on (old) school buildings of AG SO Antwerpen (Stedelijk Onderwijs Antwerpen). We operate within an existing research of 'Renew School', which investigates the possibilities, opportunities and difficulties of transforming old school buildings with modular facades into 'new' buildings of passive standard or low energy demands. This program is in collaboration with the PassiveHousePlatform (Belgium), the TH Zürich, the DTU Kopenhagen, the T.U. Chalmers in Sweden, the TU of Milan, the INTEC in Graz, the timber industry of Slovenia, NAPE (an governmental energylab from Poland) and the FraunHofer Institut in Germany. Research as stated by the ag SO Antwerpen; "Designing a modular renovation of a school building." Three buildings which act as case- or model- studies for school buildings of the 70's, are researched. The aim is to make a design that, after renovation; - Has a modular outer shell, replacing the current - With a "free" facade facing but modular, so that it can be constructed elsewhere (as short as possible on-site yard time) - With the highest possible energy quality (passive, NZEB,?) - Wherein the replacement of the outer shell can be completed within the 8 weeks of the summer holiday, and the rest of the renovation is done without having to close the school - With a price setting that is realistic (within the AGION standards for renovation) [ Reflection on sustainability, making "durable" buildings; Rethinking the skin of a building is an important step to upgrade old buildings with huge energy demands towards more sustainable situations. But; improving isolation of a building can never be the only goal. We see the aim for sustainability as a broad and reflective attitude in every step of the design process, starting from pointing out the opportunities in existing structures (searching for the intelligent casco, structural sustainability), over expliciting the role, position and meaning of a building in its surroundings (urban, social and cultural sustainability), up to generous and integrated technical facade solution. ] Additional research tasks as stated by the Studio Patrimony; Focus is placed on the study of the so-called "margin," or that which is "between" the public and the private domain, also called "the facade". Research on "the margin" obliges us to make statements about the influence of the city and open space (the public) on housing- or school plans, on experience, on atmosphere (the private) on the skin of a building. Generosity from the outside-in, but also from the inside-out. A building fits into the city by the grace of its appearance. Is this margin an image, a scene? Is it allowed to be decor? How does an (intelligent) hull relate to a generic (or specific) façade articulation?

Researcher(s)

  • Promoter: Driesen Geert
  • Co-promoter: Hanjoul Filip

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  • Research Project

Reuse of Modernist Buildings (RMB). 01/09/2016 - 31/08/2019

Abstract

The project, Re-use of modernist buildings, RMB wants to initiate an educational framework of common definitions, approaches and methodologies on a European level. The project departs from existing research, educational practices and reference projects in the program countries and associated states, complemented with new cases study and methodology research. RMB explores combinations of traditional e-learning forms, on site events such as conferences and workshops as well as extended innovative e-learning options in digital fabrication and building integrated management (BIM). It will improve the possibilities of a remote teaching in design education which is not self-evident up till now. Demographic and climate chance has resulted in huge qualitative and quantitative challenges and demands for the European building sector. The need for suitable and affordable housing in the city centres and urban agglomerations is increasing and cannot, and should not, be fulfilled with new constructions only. A major task for the building industry should be realized through the refurbishment of the existing housing stock, as well as conversion from other building typologies such as warehouses, offices and public building with special focus on the post WW2 modern era. Due to discrepancies in the European job market and employment situations, graduates are well aware of the fact that they may have to leave their country to work in a different country or to be able to work in their countries but in international projects. In several international networks Bachelor's and Master's students already have the opportunity to get familiar with the challenges and requirements of the global job market in the building sector. This experience related to language training, intercultural and interdisciplinary competences are very much appreciated by the students as relevant for their professional future. RMB will add an extra level to this by not only offering a coherent international study program, combining the local and the international but also by inserting in this curriculum cooperation with industry and with other institutions to investigate and solve relevant practical, technical and societal questions. Students get acquainted with industry and with praxis via internships, graduation assignments, conferences, workshops and guest speakers.

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  • Research Project
  • Education Project

The Genealogy of the discipline of Interior Architecture. The Mission, Education and Oeuvre of Gatekeeper Jul De Roover 01/07/2016 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

This proposal aims an in-depth study of the work and professional life of architect Jul De Roover: his writings, education and practice. De Roover occupied gatekeeping roles within interior design education, gave shape to the professionalization of interior design in Belgium and designed some noticeable housing projects. It is motivated by the assumption that a better understanding of this pilot project will help to develop a framework for the investigation of other actors that had a key role in the development of the discipline of interior architecture.

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  • Research Project

Between landscape conservation and nature development. Mapping the terrain in Flanders (1970-2000). 01/07/2016 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

Internationally, landscape and nature/ecology are foregrounded as a new ground to recalibrate the discipline of spatial planning. However, in Flanders there is a problematic tension between landscape and nature policy, translated in planning strategies based on either static zoning or on a dynamic systemic development; a divide standing in the way of this new integrated conception of spatial planning. As first step in bridging the divide, the STIMPRO-project aims at contextualizing the tension by placing it in a historical perspective. The current, a-historical reading of nature and landscape policy gives way to a one-dimensional focus on the technical and scientific approach in planning theory and practice, which obscures an in-depth understanding of the challenges at stake, both environmental and social. The project examines a key period of formalization and conception of planning instruments (1970-2000), in which a legal and institutional framework for both landscape and nature policy were developed. It focuses on two paradigmatic cases, in which crucial issues and questions on landscape and nature conception crystallize: 1) the Landscape Atlas (Landschapsatlas, LA), based on an assessment of traditional landscapes and a rationale of zoning; 2) the Green Main Structure (Groene Hoofdstructuur, GHS), based on a network and development strategy. Starting from this case studies the project aims at: 1) gaining insight in the concepts of conservation and development in nature and landscape policy in Flanders and uncovering the networks of actors and ideas involved and 2) tracing the ideological arguments, sociocultural motives, conflicts and power relations underlying the scientific/technocratic rationale. Methodologically, the assembly of networks and narratives is grounded in Bruno Latour's Actor-Network Theory and Maarten Hajer's and John Dryzek's work on environmental discourses. The research is based on three types of primary sources: 1) individual interviews with a preselected group of 14 actors that played a primary role in the development of the LA and GHS in government administrations, research institutions, and preservation committees; 2) archives of the actors, institutions and associations under study; 3) the reports of the Scientific Conferences for Greening (1975-84). The feasibility of the research is ensured by the pre-selection of the actors and literature by the promoters and the targeted way of addressing the archives. The project contributes to the research activities of the Henry van de Velde research group (HVDV), and more specifically to the cluster Heritage and Resilience, by initiating a long-term research line on landscape history, design and policy, which inscribes heritage studies in a present-day development perspective. The STIMPRO-project is a first step of a PhD project that will be set up by the promoters (FWO, IWT) as well as prepares the foundation for possible research funded by governmental administrations. The cooperation between promoter Bruno Notteboom and co-promoter Greet De Block of the Centre for Urban History is essential for the interdisciplinary approach of this research and makes it possible to contribute to two frontline research domains of the University of Antwerp: Ecology and Sustainable Development, and Urban History and Contemporary Urban Policy.

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  • Research Project

Platform for activating networks for cultural resilience (PLAN4CURE). Setting up and operationalizing a transdisciplinary platform for cultural resilient and sustainable urban environments in Suriname . 13/03/2016 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

PLAN4CURE implements the inclusion of heritage into planning policy, as an way of sustainable development of urban and rural sites. As an embodiment of cultural resilience, heritage tackles fast and undirected transformations and reorients policymaking. Four historic sites - Marienburg, Frimangron, Paramaribo UNESCO-site, and Moengo - representing the diversity of Surinames urban and rural heritage (a plantation site, city centre, peripheral neighbourhood, and a mining town), serve as empirical pilot cases. Through these cases the applicability of knowledge and methodologies resulting from previous research, will be valorised. Meanwhile training programs and educational strengthening are addressing the many and diverse stakeholders which are involved: heritage organisations, academics, students, and professionals.

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  • Research Project

Alternative design-blueprints for "Kasteeldomein Zellaer (Bonheiden)", "Kasteelhoeve (Grobbendonk)", "Molendomein Beddermolen (Tongerlo-Westerlo), "Rangeerstation (Essen)" and "Domein Hof ter Laken" 01/02/2016 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

This research project is focused on the elaboration of alternative design-blueprints or scenarios for a set of open landscapes with a significant historical value, located in the Province of Antwerp. By means of these scenarios, the organization "Kempens Landschap" wants to safeguard the public use and utility of these landscapes. Each scenario consists of different visualizations or 3D-images generated by research-by-design (i.e. methodology), that will inspire the eventually chosen (re)design of the landscapes, as well as the negotiations with potential (network)partners.

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  • Research Project

Designing resilience: transition of the historical city and its material culture. 01/06/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

Today, people do not only live in urban centres, but in spread-out 'urban landscapes' that also encompass open spaces. These spaces are under severe pressure. On the one hand we need them to face environmental challenges such as flood risks, because green open space allows infiltration of water. On the other hand they are threatened by the expansion of the city. How can we combine these conflicting claims? And how should we deal with the ever-changing and unpredictable needs of a growing urban population? In this project, the idea of porosity is put forward as a design concept to make our cities and architecture more resilient. The term porosity means the amount of openings or wholes in a substance through which the air or a liquid can pass. It was first used in the context of architecture and urbanism by the Italian architects Bernardo Secchi and Paoloa Viganó in their analysis of the agglomerations of Paris and Antwerp. They use the term porosity as a measure of openness of the urban landscape, its capacity to absorb new people and functions, to allow biodiversity and to store water, and to make the urban landscape accessible. In this research project, porosity will be used as a theoretical and design concept on the scale of the individual building, the urban block as well as the (sub)urban landscape as a whole. The research consists of three parts. In a first part, the concept of porosity will be used to analyse the urban landscape in a new way, from the large scale of the agglomeration to the small scale of the individual building. A theoretical framework will be provided by literature on the American (sub)urban landscape, and in the first place the work of cultural geographer John Brinckerhoff Jackson In a second part designs will be made for the city of Antwerp, testing how flexible the city and its buildings are to absorb people and uses. This research by means of design can provide new insights in how to deal with for example issues of conservation and restoration. The flexibility of buildings, settlement patterns and landscapes creates new challenges. For example, how should we deal with the post-war urban tissue that is not adapted to future needs? A third part of the research consists of public-oriented projects. The results of the research will be communicated to professionals and to the audience at large by popularising publications and debates, an international conference, a book publication and/or exhibition. The project is the result of cooperation between the different departments of the Faculty of Architecture. The topic requires an approach that involves various disciplines: in order to understand how the built landscape functions and how we can respond to its future challenges, expertise of architects, product developers, interior architects, urban planners and specialists in conservation and restoration will be needed. This research will also be translated in the educational program of the departments involved, in courses, master theses and seminars tutored by a multidisciplinary staff.

Researcher(s)

  • Promoter: Notteboom Bruno
  • Fellow: Notteboom Bruno

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  • Research Project

The design of durable, inclusive public interiors from an urban and interior perspective 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

"Urban public space is one of the hallmarks of the city, of city life, and urban culture. For these reasons hybrid forms of public space, the so called second public space, are interesting insofar they don't pose a subversion of the first public space." (Borret, beleidsnota 2006-2011, p.39) The former Antwerp City Architect, Kristiaan Borret, draws attention to the qualities of 'second' public space, such as arcades, passages, inner courtyards and public interior spaces. At the same time, he is hesitant about the desirability of 'second' public spaces, because they may damage the quality of the so called 'first' public space: the actual streets, parks and squares. This critical attitude towards new types of public space is apparent in the narratives of profound loss (Sorkin 1992; Koolhaas 2002; De Cauter 2004). On the other hand, 'second' public spaces may serve as a meeting place for groups who do otherwise not find their own place in the main streets and squares. Manual de Solá Morales (1992) was probably the first to stress the importance of these new forms of public space as stimulators of everyday life in the contemporary European city. Ali Mandanipour argues that in the European city with its expansive population and increasing social and cultural complexity, the creation of inclusive public interiors may offer a solution for the threatening social fragmentation (2010). However, the design of qualitative public interiors should be durable through time. So far, especially the 'first' public space was at the center of substantial research (Meyer, a.o. 2009; Van Gassen 2003) in the scholarly field of urban design and urbanism. Also different types of specific public interiors, such as shopping malls (Crawford 1992, Bittencourt, 2013) have been investigated thoroughly in the field of architecture and interior design. However an interdisciplinary approach on the subject of public interiors is lacking. This study aims to bridge the disciplinary boundaries and to search for a communal framework to design public interiors in a more holistic way. The research question is as follows: How can we design durable, qualitative public interiors or 'second' public spaces, which form an integrated part of a network with the 'first' public space? In order to design such spaces, we will develop design principles that are based on theories of public space and urban development, as well as theories of interior architecture, and are tested in case studies.

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  • Research Project

Strategic-spatial blueprints for the installation of an IEP site within the former colony of vagabonds in Wortel-Merksplas 01/07/2014 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Province of Antwerp. UA provides the Province of Antwerp research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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  • Research Project

The development of alternative design blueprints for social economy sites aiming for a (more) inclusive economic participation within an urban(ized) environment (the so-called IEP-sites) 01/07/2014 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

The project proposal aims at the development of strategic-spatial design blueprints for urban IEP-sites. The acronym IEP stands for the ultimate goal or ambition, being an inclusive i.e. a (more) complete and high quality participation of socially deprived or vulnerable urban citizens. As the blueprints present alternative choices for (types) of IEP-sites, they are very useful for and applicable by the policy makers of local governments.

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  • Research Project

DR_SOM ANTWERP; international research seminar on methodology in design research 01/07/2014 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

DR_SOM (Design Research, Series on Method) is a series of international research seminars, exploring the development of valid methodologies in architectural design research. Through the analysis of best-practices, PhD-researchers and experts are brought together. The organization of the seminar in Antwerp is positioning the young research group Henry van de Velde as an active participant in the international research network ARENA.

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  • Research Project

Strengthening the current Bsc. Programme Construction Engineering and infrastructure of the University of Suriname and feasibility study for the extension of the Bsc. Programme into a regional Msc. Programme in Urban Design. 01/10/2013 - 31/08/2014

Abstract

Strengthening the current Bsc. Programme Construction Engineering and infrastructure of the University of Suriname and feasibility study for the extension of the Bsc. Programme into a regional Msc. Programme in Urban Design Collaborative engineering experiences in international teams.

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  • Research Project

Strategic role of public libraries at local level. 01/06/2013 - 31/05/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Locus. UA provides Locus research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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  • Research Project