A+287 Article: Building bridges by Hanne Mangelschots and Serafina Van Godtsenhoven

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Architecture in Belgium

BEL €25 – INT €30


0 977137 550701


December 2020–January 2021

Special Edition: Practices of Change


5 Editorial Lisa De Visscher and Roeland Dudal

Subjects 8 Building bridges: designing processes for acceleration Hanne Mangelschots and Serafina Van Godtsenhoven

54 ‘Commons’ to change the city Nathalie Cobbaut

78 Rediscovering sustainable commissioning Michiel Van Balen

108 New governance strategies for urban design Sigita Simona Paplauskaite

Round-table 32 ‘We need to set the agenda for what is being built’ Lisa De Visscher


Projects 14 bc Architects and Studies, Circular and modular production hall, Brussels Véronique Patteeuw

20 ouest – Rotor dc, zinneke, Brussels Jolien Naeyaert

26 a2o architecten, Timelab, Ghent Birgit Cleppe

44 nu architectuuratelier, Centers, Antwerp Bart Tritsmans

50 51n4e – Plant- en Houtgoed, Redingenhof, Leuven Guillaume Vanneste

60 Atelier Oost-Vlaams Kerngebied, Eeklo – Lievegem – Merelbeke

Nik Naudts and Carmen Van Maercke

66 Tractebel – Maat-ontwerpers, Tuinen van Stene, Ostend Stefan Devoldere

72 Vlaamse Landmaatschappij, Water + Land + Schap Pieter T’Jonck

84 Osar – Astor, Klein Veldekens, Geel Gideon Boie

88 Dethier Architectures, hosomi, Outrewarche Pauline Malras

94 Stéphane Beel – blaf – denc!, De Nieuwe Dokken, Ghent Chloë Raemdonck

102 conix rdbm Architects – Rotor dc, multi Tower, Brussels Eline Dehullu

2 Biographies


Gideon Boie

is an architect and founder of

Bavo, a research collective

focusing on the political di -

mension of art, architecture and

urban planning. He is a lecturer

and researcher at the Faculty

of Architecture kuleuven.

His research focuses on the urgent

challenges in care architecture.

Birgit Cleppe

is an architectural engineer.

She is writing a PhD on post-war

art documentaries at the Arts

Department of ugent. In 2018

shewas on the editorial staff of

the Flanders Architectural Review.

Nathalie Cobbaut

has been working as a journalist

since 1992. A lawyer by training,

she has always been a generalist

in information processing,

with a particular attention to the

popularization of the fields


Stefan Devoldere

is dean of the Faculty of Architecture

and Art at Hasselt

University. As president of the

‘Stadsatelier Oostende’ (from

2016) and as former deputy

and acting Flemish Government

Architect (2011–2016), he stimulates

the quality of the built

environment in Flanders.

Roeland Dudal

is founding partner of Arch i-

tecture Workroom Brussels,

a European think-and-do tank

for innovation in the field

of architecture and urban and

regional development.

He studied architecture at the

University of Ghent. He teaches

architectural design at the

kuleuven Faculty of Architecture

Campus Ghent and


Pauline Malras

is a freelance journalist who

specializes in architecture,

design and construction techniques.

In 2013 she graduated

from the École Nationale

Supérieure d’Architecture et de

Paysage de Lille (with a focus

on ‘materiality and building

culture’). She draws on her

experience and her training

to analyse contemporary

developments in architecture.

Hanne Mangelschots

graduated as an architectural

engineer from kuleuven. Within

Architecture Workroom Brussels

she researches and tests new

process designs and platforms

for spatial transformation,

such as the Delta Atelier,

You Are Here and The Great


Jolien Naeyaert

is a Brussels-based architecturalengineer

and visual artist. She

graduated from Ghent University

in 2012 and subsequently studied

autonomous design at the kask

School of Arts Ghent.

Since 2015 she has been working

at Robbrecht en Daem architecten.

Nik Naudts

graduated from Ghent University

in 2006 as an architectural

engineer. Since 2011 he has

worked at Architecture

Workroom Brussels, where he

was the lead expert for projects

including the exploration of the

future Metropolitan Coastal

Landscape 2100 and the

Oost-Vlaams Kerngebied.

Sigita Simona Paplauskaite

studied architecture at Vilnius

Gediminas Technical University

and holds a master’s degree

in landscape architecture from

Kingston University London.

After eight years of artistic and

professional practice, she joined

the team of the Brussels Government

Architect in 2019 to manage

the Urban Maestro project.

Véronique Patteeuw

is associate professor at

the École Nationale Supérieure

d’Architecture et de Paysage

de Lille and editor of Oase. Her

research focuses on the theory

and history of architectural

publications in relation to the

history of the postmodern.

She has been a visiting professor

at kuleuven since 2019.

Chloë Raemdonck

is trained in the conversion and

restoration of protected heritage

and its durability issues. She has

worked at restoration firms

such as Origin Architecture and

Engineering, Callebaut Archi -

tecten and juxta. As a project

architect for the Ghent Urban

Development Company

(sogent), she became skilled at

project management and public


Bart Tritsmans

teaches at the University of

Antwerp. He obtained a PhD in

history (University of Antwerp

and architectural engineering

(Vrije Universiteit Brussel) in

2014. His research focuses on

the historical evolution of urban

green spaces. He is a former

head of exhibitions at the

Flanders Architecture Institute.

Pieter T’Jonck

is an architect. He writes on

architecture, the visual arts and

the performing arts for several

Belgian and foreign newspapers

and magazines. He works for

the Klara radio station and was

editor-in-chief of a+ in 2017.

Michiel Van Balen

is a civil engineer and architect.

He worked as an architect and

urban designer before he started

the coordination of the adaptive

reuse project of De Hoorn. In

2017 he co-founded Miss Miyagi.

Serafina Van Godtsenhoven

studied philosophy at Ghent

University and completed

an international master’s programme

in Urban Studies at

vub, ulb and ucm (es),

University of Copenhagen (dk)

and Universität Wien (at).

In 2019 she joined Architecture

Workroom Brussels as a researcher

on ‘The Great


Carmen Van Maercke

obtained her master’s degree in

architectural engineering

(option: urban design) at Ghent

University in 2013. She joined

Architecture Workroom

Brussels in January 2016, where

she is project leader for innovative

projects relating to

unsealing, integrated and sociospatial

projects, and water.

Guillaume Vanneste

is an architectural engineer,

researcher and teacher at

the Faculty of Architecture,

Architectural Engineering

and Urbanism of the Université

Catholique de Louvain

(loci-uclouvain). He is a

founding partner of vvv

architecture urbanisme.

A+ Architecture In Belgium

Bimonthly bilingual magazine, ISSN 1375–5072, Volume 47 (2020) N6

Editorial team


Lisa De Visscher

Deputy editor-in-chief

Eline Dehullu

Guest editor

Roeland Dudal

Production coordinator

Grégoire Maus

Translation and copy-editing

Patrick Lennon

Graphic design

Kritis & Kritis


GroteskRemix & Starling


Die Keure, Bruges

Front cover image

BC Architects and Studies,

Circular and modular production

hall, Brussels © Thomas Noceto

Back cover image

Commons Lab, Travelling forest

garden, Antwerp, 2020

Content page image

BC Architects and Studies,

Circular and modular production

hall, Brussels

Artistic committee

Gilles Debrun

Pauline Fockedey

Nicolas Hemeleers

Kelly Hendriks

Véronique Patteeuw

Hera Van Sande

Guillaume Vanneste

Ward Verbakel

Editorial address

Ernest Allardstraat 21/3 –

1000 Brussels



A+ is a publication of CIAUD/

ICASD Information Centre for

Architecture, Urbanism

and Design.


Philémon Wachtelaer

Ernest Allardstraat 21/3 –

1000 Brussels


Articles are the sole

responsibility of the authors.

All rights of reproduction,

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(even partial) reserved for

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8 a+287

Building bridges

Hanne Mangelschots, Serafina Van Godtsenhoven

We are facing enormous global ecological and economic

challenges these days. Climate change and exponential

population growth are putting huge pressure

on society. The demand for other forms of housing,

working and living is growing, the call for change is becoming

louder and louder. The architectural and building

practice has evolved in step with this demand for

change. But the necessary turnaround is happening

too slowly. We need an architectural practice that

goes that extra mile, that uses spatial design as a lever

to accelerate social transitions. In short, we need

an architectural practice that drives change rather

than one that adapts to change.

© Architecture Workroom Brussels for You Are Here 2018

The Delta Atelier, a


and action platform,

grew out of 50

practices in the

Netherlands and

Flanders, 2018

a+287 Designing processes for acceleration


One swallow doesn’t make a summer. One

car-free street doesn’t lead to fewer traffic jams

or deaths. One low-energy renovation doesn’t

make the energy transition affordable. One

agro-ecological farm doesn’t make our diet

healthier and more sustainable. One caring

neighbourhood project doesn’t lead to a more

inclusive care system. One make-and-learn

hub that gives newcomers access to the labour

market doesn’t solve unemployment. Wonderful

initiatives are being taken on each of these

fronts, but many of them feel like exceptions

rather than the rule. The major social goals – in

terms of nature and climate, solidarity and affordability,

sustainability and economic resilience

– seem a long way off. The policymakers

formulating long-term objectives often fail to

explain what exactly we need to do differently

today. There is a missing link: a tremendous

gap between where we are now and where we

want to be. And we are all wondering how on

earth we are going to get there together.

© Architecture Workroom Brussels

for IABR–2018 and You Are Here 2018

The Missing Link

between a

multitude of local

initiatives and


objectives. We are

hitting both a glass

roof and a glass


Social innovation and the design of our urban

landscape go hand in hand. It is the new

arrangements between policymakers, citizens,

civil society, experts and social practices that

shape our environments. Think, for example,

of the impact of Ringland on the infrastructure

debate in Antwerp, the contribution of

an action group such as Filter Café Filtré to

the creation of school streets (see a+278) or

the BoerenBruxselPaysans initiative that gives

short-chain farmers access to land on the outskirts

of Brussels (see a+282). It is clear that

the range of actors weighing on the changes in

our living environment is widening. Moreover,

these projects show that social transitions are

not only major planning assignments, but grow

out of small scale initiatives as well. We need

to start thinking of solutions as a multitude of

concrete interventions in our homes, streets

and neighbourhoods.

The role of the

architectural practice

The architectural and building practice is evolving

in accordance with the changing demand.

Buildings are becoming increasingly energyefficient,

circular construction is becoming the

norm, developers are offering neighbourhoods

instead of dwellings, grey squares are becoming

green-blue oases in the city, care district

centres are seeing the light of day, libraries and

museums are becoming meeting places. But

isn’t it so that the necessary turnaround is happening

much too slowly? The contribution of

the architectural practice needs to go much

further. Today there is a tremendous opportunity

to use spatial design as a lever to accelerate

social transitions. This can be done by representing

the positive qualities that change can

bring about. By demonstrating how solutions

can be tackled interdependently – and in one

and the same space. By bringing future design

issues into focus and actively participating in

new collaborations, new financing models, new

building methods and new social arrangements

that are being tested. That is why we need an

architectural practice that drives change rather

than a practice that adapts to change.

In order to really renew the practice, knowledge

must find its way from the pioneers to the

mainstream actors, from the experts to the

10 Building bridges


citizens, from the market players to the policymakers.

And vice versa. For this, new communities

are needed that can assist in the sharing

of knowledge and the development of that

practice. Here, the Delta Atelier functions as

a good example. It emerged out of the 2018 Architecture

Biennale in Rotterdam and Brussels

as a network of more than 50 practices from

Belgium and the Netherlands. During the last

Delta Atelier Conference – which took place

digitally on 3 June 2020 – architects, urbanists,

spatial planners, entrepreneurs, citizens and

policymakers discussed projects concerning

local forms of collaboration, new investment

models and the changing role of government.

They looked at what we can learn from these

‘practices of change’ and how we can support

them as designers.

Ode to the local and the collective

During that conference, Elise Steyaert presented

the citizen collective Klimaan from Mechelen.

At Klimaan, citizens themselves set to work

on the energy transition and the cooperative

members invest in future-proof solutions for

local projects, such as installing solar panels

at the town hall and library. Whereas we are

usually in the habit of tackling major tasks

with big gestures: huge wind farms, new metro

lines or sturdy dikes, an important part of the

necessary change will have to be realized at

all levels of our system. In other words: in our

neighbourhoods, streets and houses. There is

a growing tendency among citizens, such as

the members of Klimaan, to take the right to

make decisions about their living environment

into their own hands: they are assuming a new

role as active co-producers of their neighbourhoods.

In this way, citizens are firing up the

democratic potential of the transitions.

Yet Klimaan has indicated that they want to

and can go further than small-scale projects:

what if we can extend these new organizational

models to the regular market?

Within the prevailing logic, governments

issue commissions aimed at companies. As a

result, citizens do not have the opportunity to

position themselves as equal partners. From a

traditional perspective, they are merely users

of an end product: consumers. But they know

the local needs and opportunities like no other.

In order to create a level playing field in

which citizens (or ‘commoners’) can also be

shareholders – are able to invest, participate

in management, make decisions – other types

of assignments need to be formed. In this way,

the authorities can create frameworks for a

changing society. We must dare to organize

a skewed playing field in which citizens can

claim an active role.

From Mechelen to Rotterdam. In a Huis van

de Wijk (House of the neighbourhood), local

residents themselves set up a place where they

can meet others. The Prinsenhof, for example,

is located in a Rotterdam neighbourhood that

is steadily being confronted with an ageing

population and therefore with challenges relating

to care, housing and social isolation.

The Huis van de Wijk acts as a care hub, where

people can fall back on formal support such as

the provision of cheap meals at home or guidance

to the labour market, but also on more

informal networks between local residents.

The project relies almost entirely on volunteers.

This ensures a high degree of ownership

among users, as they themselves contribute

what they think is needed. Many of the transitions,

no matter how grand they may seem,

must ultimately be realized on a human scale

and cannot simply be rolled out from the top

down. Whenever the link is made with their

own ambitions and needs, people are willing to

commit themselves. We will need this activist

potential to give shape to major changes in a

human and social manner. How will experts,

designers and authorities find a way to support

this multitude of emerging, decentralized initiatives?


Designing processes for acceleration


It is certain that we need new intermediate

roles to build bridges: system negotiators, underground

managers, ‘manoeuvrerers’, brokers,

network managers, facilitators. When

shaping transitions on a neighbourhood scale,

you need to be able to trace, look over the fences

and link up where possible. Here it is crucial

to expose an area’s dna. In the context of the

energy transition, the need for district ambassadors

is being discussed: representatives who

are themselves rooted in the neighbourhood,

who are in contact with neighbourhood organizations

and private individuals, who are

trusted by the residents. This role can never

be played by a company or government. In

the same way, we see district directors emerge

who can facilitate the socialization of care or

act as matchmaker between businesses in the

context of a circular economy. Taking up this

role takes time but is strictly essential.

New business models

The transitions require a multitude of concrete

interventions in our living environment. To

this end, we must also look for new agreements

and financing models. An exemplary project

is the Woongenootschap (Housing association)

in Rotterdam. This group of architects

is committed to affordable housing in the city

centre. They argue that we need to move away

from the idea that real estate is a revenue model

and that you can become rich purely through

ownership. We need to look at housing rather

as a utility model that everyone is entitled to.

How does it work? By buying a share, you become

a member of a cooperative society and

this gives you the right to use the property. The

cost of the share you put in at the beginning is

something you take out when you leave. In this

case, the added value you get does not lie in

the financial return but in access to affordable

housing. This ‘community economy’ seeks a

business model that pays off for society and not

just for a big investor. It is about keeping profits

local. But this housing model cannot simply be

plugged into the existing system. You have to

look at its profitability in the long term: rent

will initially be higher, but will remain stable

over the years. It is only after 15 years that costs

will fall in relation to the rising prices on the

property market. Without a framework provided

by the authorities, this type of project

cannot break out of its niche.

Klimaan members’

day, climate alarm

and sustainable


Mechelen, 2019

The principle of an atomic financing model

such as that of Klimaan or the Woongenootschap,

as the sum of many smaller parts,

can also be applied on a larger scale. After all,

many citizens have dormant money in their

banks, which now yields almost nothing. These

little bits can be gathered in a fund with which

you can pre-finance the necessary transitions

– think of the renovation of many outdated

dwellings and the installation of solar panels.

In this way, you take away the worries of citizens

who do not have the money or the decisiveness

to take the initiative themselves. They

pay the same energy bill until the investment is

repaid with a slight added value. After about

ten years, they get a better house and their

electricity bill drops. Moreover, this allows

the government to realize its stated objectives

12 Building bridges: designing processes for acceleration


in a co-creative manner. If governments were

to make these investments tax-deductible, the

investors would have more impact and more

return with their dormant capital than if their

money stayed in the bank. It sounds logical.

But it requires a complex interplay of local

and supralocal stakeholders in which local

networks, district ambassadors and stimulating,

framework-providing authorities each play

their part.

The next big thing will be

a lot of small things

How do we activate the bottom-up energy into

a swarm of projects that speed up change?

After all, we can see that things need to be

tackled in many places at the same time, and

preferably together, so that they reinforce each

other. Together, the provided examples form

a call, not only to designers to conceive new

projects and processes, but to new coalitions,

new arrangements between supra-local authorities,

municipalities, businesses and citizen

organizations that can implement the necessary

change in many places at the same time.

Parts of this new approach are already taking

shape in some places. Too often, however, the

above examples remain exceptions to the rule,

while we need the systematic and structural

roll-out of future places if we wish to achieve

our objectives.

This is where platforms such as the Delta

Atelier come to the fore. They are eager to

bundle and link disseminated knowledge and

initiatives and to represent the potential impact.

These learning environments can serve

to string together many ground-breaking but

– in the light of the major challenges – small

initiatives so as to form an ambitious movement.

This article was written by Architecture Workroom Brussels on

the basis of conversations with Mariska Vogel, Ronald van der

Heijden, Elise Steyaert, Arie Lengkeek, Koen Schoors, Jandirk

Hoekstra, Philippe Vandenbroeck, Hans ten Hoeve, Jan Verheeke,

Koen Wijnants, Joost Schrijnen, Eric Corijn, Bob

D’Haeseleer and Floris Alkemade (by order of appearance

during the online Delta Atelier Conference on 3 July 2020).

More info: www.deltaatelier.eu

© Thomas Legreve for the Delta Atelier

Delta Atelier

Conference 2019 in

the Atelier





Ambitious goals are more than

abstract points on the horizon.

Every house, every street, every

neighbourhood and every landscape

matters. ‘Future places’ are the

biggest transformation project

of our times. Let’s pool our

capacities to multiply change.

Together we build a library of

strategies, a set of investment

programs, and a festival

of ‘future places’.


The Great Transformation is an initiative of a growing group of actors with diverse expertise and social positions. We want to materialize and accelerate

the transition to a resilient society, by combining the insights and strengths of entrepreneurs, investors, governments, researchers and civil society, and

translating them into concrete future projects and investment programs. The initiative is facilitated by Architecture Workroom Brussels, with the support

of the Flemish Government, the Brussels Capital Region and the Dutch National Government


A+ Architecture in Belgium



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116 a+287


The House:

A High-



Housing is about more than just

choosing between a house or an apartment,

in the city or outside. The housing

question encompasses spatial quality,

densification and affordability. A+288

features projects that testify to a certain

experimentation with the housing

dream or from which it appears that the

architect has questioned the usual housing

typology. With projects by, among

others, Générale, BuroBill, Philippe Vander

Maren, and Doorzon.

© Dieter Van Caneghem


Bart Dehaene,

Social housing


Lo-Reninge, 2020

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We are at a tipping point in history. Never before have we faced so

many major changes in such a short period of time: global warming,

biodiversity loss, energy transition, health crisis, inequality,

population growth, and so on. This special issue of a+ presents

architectural practices that are driving this transition rather than

adapting to it, using spatial design as a lever to accelerate change.

With projects by, among others, 51n4e, bc Architects and Studies,

Dethier Architectures, Miss Miyagi, nu architectuuratelier,

ouest architecture and Rotor dc.

In collaboration with

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