2020 alumnus Justin Dirkx’s Master’s thesis ‘MMXX Millennial Perspectives: the Autonomy of the Millennial Architect and Brussels’ Square for Millennials‘ (Studio Grand Tour, Hugo Vanneste & Carl Bourgeois) was nominated by KU Leuven for Archiprix International 2021, and was awarded the KU Leuven Master’s Thesis Award on 21 October 2021 !
Justin studied Architecture in the Sint-Lucas Brussels Campus and completed his Master’s thesis in the Sint-Lucas Ghent Campus.
MMXX Millennial Perspectives: Square for Millennials is an uncommissioned redesign of Brussels’ Place de la Bourse. The square represents an enlarged (x 360) iPhone 11 Pro Max; Apple’s 2020 release smartphone. The enlargement materializes every single pixel of its screen (resolution 2688×1242 px) as a glass mosaic tile of 20×20 millimeters. A Square for Millennials measures 57×28 meters, with its surface slightly lifted from the surrounding pavement. It features a continuous border in Belgian blue limestone and a descending rounded edge in proportional radius.
This monumentalization might allow us to look differently (certainly at a different scale) at an object that so deeply determines our perception of space and environment. The pervasive characteristics of the iPhone – both as an object and a medium – keep growing on us. Materializing and monumentalizing the iPhone might signify the deep physical grip we – inhabitants of the Anthropocene – have on our environment – the Earth. A ‘square’ is a manifestation of power, an urban space for expression: for the king, a pope, or the people. Square for Millennials aims to reveal a power we tend to forget, but are most deeply subjected to: the power of the iPhone – and all its paradigms.
The allocation of the prize is based on the following considerations:
- the excellent combination of theory and design, text and image
- the contribution to the changing vision of the role of the architect
- innovatively connecting physical and digital ‘virtual’ space in design
- the way in which these theoretical insights are translated into a future-oriented design for the Beursplein, one of the most frequented and challenging places in the center of Brussels.