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OMG! Van God Los

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Team: Sven Sterken, Karen Kesteloot, Louise Kiekens
Engagement: Legacy

This ADO approaches design as a form of spatial agency that supports and strengthens particular cultural, physical or social dynamics. Our goal is to tackle socio-cultural challenges through a hybrid approach at the intersection of research, design and action. In particular, this studio develops strategies with regards to the future use of the ever increasing number of (Catholic) parish churches that are currently being withdrawn from service. Investigating the socially and spatially structuring capacity of this religious infrastructure will be done through a ‘lab setting’ fostering real-life experiments and interaction with real stakeholders. To this effect, the studio builds upon the output of a dedicated research seminar (ELG2 ‘Onderzoeksseminarie Architectuurgeschiedenis’, B-KUL-A34384) where the conceptual core of this AOB is prepared, and benefits from the research and design practice of the team of tutors (all actively involved in the issue of repurposing (religious) built heritage). Thus, this studio offers a research and design environment where, next to developing your creative capacity and research skills, you will be encouraged to take a well-founded stance in a pressing societal issue and express their views through design.

The studio deals with ‘real life’ case studies in a variety of contexts: in 2016-17, three churches in the city of Ghent; 2017-18: post-war churches in the Campine region; 2018-19: parish churches in a rural context (Zwalm). Each time, the aim is to develop a substantiated vision on the social and spatial potential of these buildings and maximize it through design. In terms of output, we expect architectural designs of the highest standard based on solid investigation and argumentation. The final jury is always organized on location and accompanied by a public exhibit. For images of past exhibits, click here.