DESIGNING FROM MUSEUMIZATION TO HARDCORE HERITAGE: ‘Towards spatio-cultural strategies that provide handles to rethink hopeful and seemingly hopeless vacancies from the perspective of Contested Legacy’
“Hardcore Heritage represents a new way of thinking about monuments and cultural heritage. Through deliberate destruction, radical changes in context, and seemingly contradictory additions, a new field of tension arises between present, past and future.” (RAAAF)
Engagement: Contested Legacy
Academic year 2020-21
Design Studio MAIG14 Semester 1: arCsus – architecture – Culture – sustainability
Academic supervisor, prof.dr.arch. Marc Dujardin
The master dissertation tracks, supervised by Marc Dujardin stem from the tutor’s approach of architecture and design strategy as ‘culture praxis’ (Architectural Anthropology & Spatio-Cultural Sustainability) as developed within his ‘arCsus Lab’ (architecture-CULTURE-sustainability), and complemented by the ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and acting of the innovative Amsterdam based RAAAF architects (RIETVELD Architecture-Art-Affordances).
To shape what is envisaged by the faculty’s ADO approach (Academic Design Office) , arCsus Lab closely works together with the Amsterdam based design studio RAAAF (Rietveld Architecture – Art – AFfordances) since 2016. The synergy and chemistry between the supervisor’s academic teaching (MAIG14 and MAIG42) and research from the perspective of Architectural Anthropology, and RAAAF’s innovative art based research, centers around the shared theme entitled: “Diversity, Vacancy, Affordances and Hardcore Heritage”.
Since 2019, visual culture expert and photographer Hilde Braet has taken architectural teaching in the arCsus lab design studio’s and related electives to an even more triggering and challenging level by introducing the perspective of ‘paroxism’. Not only related to hardcore heritage architectures associated with the work of RAAAF, but more interesting to ‘radically’ influence the design process and attitude of the students, triggering and challenging them towards unexplored pathways in terms of reading, mapping, conceptualization, design strategies, form expression and representation modes.
However, from the vision and skills of the designer,-the master dissertation in architecture is pre-eminently a DESIGN studio after all-, the arCsus Lab team will focus on selective sites in Belgium, The Netherlands and beyond.
The project context as trigger:
The proposed project site accommodating a former train depot and warehouse provides us with a unique spatio-cultural matrix and exemplary case to explore what RAAAF identifies in their book “VACANCY STUDIES” experiments and strategic interventions in Architecture”, investigating the diversity and potential of ‘vacancy’ connected to the issue of ‘affordances’ or possibilities for action from an unprecedented multi-stakeholder constellation and operational framework.
To facilitate and speed up the data mining and contextual research, we will make extensive use of arch. Laurens Vandewyngaerde’s thesis, “Reintegration of an industrial site as an incubator for a future urban renewal”, submitted to obtain the degree of Master of Science in Conservation of Monuments and Sites, RLICC, KU Leuven, under supervision of prof. Paul Lievevrouw and prof. Marc Dujardin.
We will work on, along and across the ‘edges’ (spatio-cultural crossovers) of what currently is defined as the ‘VAARTDIJKSTRAAT’ RUP (Ruimtelijk-Uitvoerings-Plan – Spatial Implementation Plan), with as epicenter the ‘train depot site’ that formally served as the warehouse to service train locomotives. The larger site including a factory (Bombardier), a small forest (Lappersfort Park) and a pond, are currently object of various planning strategies for re-use. The case study arear is prompted by merely “place making” design strategies and conventional heritage policies leading to either the “museumization” of the train depot as unintentional monument, or at the most re-designed as ‘urban incubator’. One that mediates between the industrial site and the valuable nature as backbone of a new strategy to questioning and triggering conventional modes of reuse, preservation and architectural intervention within an industrial heritage context.
The proposed and primarily ‘conventional’ planning, design ideas and strategies in the proposed RUP totally disconnect from everything that the arCsus-RAAAF modus stands for, and re-defined as “Hardcore Heritage on the edge of Paroxism” radically influencing the view point, attitude, design process and skills of the designer, enabling him/her to rethink hopeful and seemingly hopeless industrial heritage vacancies from a more out-of-the-box or unconventional creative thinking process.
As such, within this studio, we will never start with a prefixed program that seeks a place and/or a form. On the contrary, the site of the former factory, within reach and limits of its various intertwining perimeters (relational, contextual, situational, design-based) seeks new narratives and affordances. No (architectural) design proposal(strategy and output) at the end of the design studio can emerge without a profound understanding of the place as an intersection of typical features that made up the spatio-cultural identity, content and imagery of this very rich but complex built landscape and iconic fabric.
The research modus:
arCsusLab ‘Designing for Spatio-Cultural Sustainability’
Whenever the ‘potential’ dimension of architecture as medium of (spatial) communication and mediation is at stake, the role and meaning of culture as key dimension of sustainable development is commonly referred to as ‘Cultural Sustainability’, the fourth pillar of the sustainability concept (social – economic – environmental it Architecture should be approached as a cultural praxis and is widely referred to as ‘Architectural Anthropology’.
But above all, arCsus aims at triggering, challenging and inspiring young designers to develop their micro-scale design strategies, interventions and statements from different entry points, conceptual frameworks, perspectives and modes of communication, representation and media. As such, the designer will develop his/her personalized skills to approach architecture in the broadest sense of the word and scale of intervention as a ‘cultural praxis’.
One or a combination of international renown theory and practice-based design strategies, initiated by the academic supervisor in close co-operation with RAAAF, may well appeal to and inspire the student to upscale his/her design strategies, tools and frames of reference in relation to architecture, approached as a cultural practice. They will facilitate the supervisor to understand what kind of designer you are, aims to be, and how you can develop your personal ‘design signature’, empowering you with more confidence to play your role as engaged designers of the future:
-DESIGNING FOR CULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY –arCsus
-ARCHITECTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY& CULTURE MATRIX DESIGN – arCsus
-DESIGNING FOR MULTI-SENSORIALITY & INCLUSION – arCsus
-DESIGNING FOR SEQUENTIAL TEMPORARINESS – RAAAF
-DIVERSITY OF VACANCY – RAAAF
-ARCHITECTURAL BEHAVIOROLOGY – BOW-WOW
-POETICS OF DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION (TEACHING INSIDE RUINS – WANG SHU)
-LIGHT, ARCHITECTURE AND ATMOSHERES – PETER ZUMTHOR
-LANDSCAPE URBANISM (clearance – grid – casco – montage) – MARCEL SMETS
-THE THREE URBANISMS AND THE PUBLIC REALM (POST-NEW-EVERYDAY) – D. KELBAUG
-DESIGNING FOR MULTIPLICITY AND ADAPTIVE URBANISM – STEFANO BOERI
Taking the student’s personal interest and affinities into account, none of the above listed design strategies are compulsory, dogmatic or conventional. None of the design strategies, listed below, will be enforced as a methodology to follow or adopt. Intensive design-based consults and reviews will enable the student to evolve as well informed, deeply moved creative ‘scenographers’ in the field of architecture and sustainability.
website: www.arCsusLab.com (under construction)
Docs: Full presentation arCsus-RAAAF Research by Design studio modus (pdf).
Vandewyngaerde Laurens, 2020, “Reintegration of an industrial site as an incubator for a future urban renewal”, Thesis, Master of Science in Conservation of Monuments and Sites, RLICC, KU Leuven, under the supervision of Paul Lievevrouw and Marc Dujardin. (pdf).
Studio brief as pdf here.