The CIVA exhibition, curated by Peter Swinnen and Nikolaus Hirsch, about Lode Janssens’ prolific but largely unnoticed architectural practice focuses on his ‘balloon house’ (Humbeek, 1973-82), a temporary experiment around a pneumatic house. The balloon was an uncompromising ephemeral attempt at de-architecturalization and harmonization with nature. An experiment with and through life itself.
As a central piece, the exhibition shows a model (made by CRIT.architects) of the balloon house in 1/4 scale, which enables the visitor to fully survey and understand the architect’s experiment. Together with original and hitherto undiscovered archive material, the exhibition aims to highlight Janssens’ experimental spatial research practice.
In addition, the exhibition includes an installation by Marc Godts that acts as an atmospheric approach to the experiment of A.J. Lode Janssens. The SLIDEMONSTER is a cluster of 6 heavy-duty projectors and media players mounted on a custom support structure, which projects a selection of the balloon’s original slides. As part of the exhibition, students from the Faculty of Architecture of the KU Leuven were invited to delve into the physical and psychological aspects of the balloon dwelling experiment during a master studio.
Together with the exhibition, the publication A.J. Lode Janssens / 1.47 mbar released and the documentary A Gentle Pressure appears.