Research team

Henry van de Velde


Sven Verbruggen is a professor of strategic design and methodology at the architecture department of the Faculty of Design Sciences (FDS). He received with distinction his Masters degree in Architecture at the University of Ghent in 2000. Right after being graduated he worked on international projects for renowned practices such as Neutelings Riedijk Architects and SOM. Strategic projects for developing the urban environment are studied from planning perspectives, urban studies, and architectural design. These perspectives, studies and designs are subject to new policy insights, socio-economic and cultural interests, and technological innovations. In these dynamics, Sven Verbruggen works on strategic architectural projects that mediate between all these levels. The developed expertise is strategic, interdisciplinary and exploratory design research that proactively produces spatial alternatives that contribute to urban development and innovation. To define his research field, Sven uses the term "Les Machines a Recréer", which stands for crucial projects that, due to their strategic role—in space and / or time—force the architect-designer and researcher to reflect, explore, and innovate. In addition, Les Machines a Recréer also alludes to an existential doubt that nestled in the discipline through Manfredo Tafuri's judgment L’Architecture dans le Boudoir (1974). By linking the purely recreational interpretation—architecture as entertainment and aesthetic layer—with the re-creation of the urban fabric—architecture as an ethical instrument—the role of the designer becomes the subject of an explicit and critical debate. Les Machines à Recreer: crucial urban interventions studied interdisciplinary—architecture as mediator between antagonistic concerns and actors. ‘Unplugged City’: Strategic and explorative design of hybrid typologies that allow building / urban areas to temporarily go off grid. ‘Living and Working in Shopping Streets’: pilot projects in co-housing meets shopping streets. ‘A User-based Real Estate Development’: digital interface for project development: 20% risk reduction in exchange for 20% typological diversity.. ‘From City Park to Parkcity’: from formal 19th century parks to 21st century urban park structures. ‘A Network of TDR Hotspots’: evocative imagery for the application of the TDR instrument in cities and developments in coastal defense systems / deltaic areas. ‘Last Mile Innovations and New Urban Developments’: Distribution networks, node development, and maze conditions in the city: innovative architectural typologies combining resilient logistics and sustainable urban development. Recurring themes: Transferable Development Rights (TDR), user-based real estate developments, mobility of goods and people, new forms of participation (Baugruppen, CLT), the medium-sized European city, the sharing economy, focus groups such as single people, young people, students, expats, and the elderly. Sustainability through circularity in the production and use of energy, space and resources connects these themes. Typological interest: buildings for decentralized energy storage and production, water management, district and urban confusion, storage, transfer and distribution of goods and services, multi-cellular buildings such as hotels, hospitals, prisons, student housing, and healthcare infrastructure, hybrid buildings such as shopping malls and offices, cohousing projects, complexes with housing and workshops for the manufacturing industry, large assembly buildings and their extra potential (second-life), i.e. stadiums, theaters and operas, temples, churches, and stations.