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(22-23) Churches In Transition // Kerk(en)Transitie

Studio 2022-23 Churches In Transition // Kerk(en)Transitie
Tutor(s) Sven Sterken, Charlotte Ardui
Campus Ghent
Language EN + NL

Description of the studio:

After WWII, Flanders became almost entirely covered with a low-density residential fabric, grafted onto the suburban dream and propelled by a politics of decentralization. In line with pastoral traditions, the new settlements were systematically equipped with a church. Reflecting the ideas promulgated by Vatican II, these churches were no longer monumental buildings for worship but pragmatically planned structures fostering community formation. Today, both these churches as well as their spatial, cultural and social context are under great pressure. Modern church buildings are increasingly becoming obsolete, while climate challenges and demographic changes require a redevelopment of the suburban fabric.

Part of the ADO OMG!/Van God Los, this studio links these urgencies by capitalizing on the symbolical significance, particular architecture and central location of post-war parish churches. Beyond the typically function-driven repurposing paradigm, we propose a research-by-design approach where the traditional cultural and social role of the church becomes enriched with an ecological ambition. To this effect, students will be working on two tracks simultaneously: they will study a concrete case in the Campine area in depth and one ecological dimension (energy, water, mobility, use(r), materiality, etc.) in its latitude. On this basis, students are to develop an repurposing strategy that intertwines local realities with global concerns. Thus, this studio will serve as a laboratory where the conceptual strategies developed in Charlotte Ardui’s doctoral project ‘Faith in the Periphery’(2019-2023) can be tested. Given the conceptually and pedagogically innovative approach, the relevance of the topic as well as the active relation between research, studio teaching and design, we intend to report on this studio in a paper for the Journal of Architectural Education.

Expected output: A carefully designed and well-argued repurposing proposal for one of the case studies, based on a clear development strategy for its neighborhood.