On 1 June, the first day of the London Festival of Architecture (LFA), the Flanders Architecture Institute (VAi) and the General Representative of Flanders in the UK organized a talk about contemporary architecture from Flanders and Brussels. The event was directly related to the most recent edition of the Flanders Architectural Review. The speakers discussed the kinship between the architecture cultures of Flanders and London.
Architecture firms from London are a common sight in Flanders and Brussels. These practices find a way into the region through procedures like the Open Call of the Flemish Government Architect (Vlaams Bouwmeester), collaborations with local architects or - in some cases - a satellite office. Meanwhile, leading architects from Flanders and Brussels have spent some of their formative years in London. All of which are examplary for a long-term entanglement between the two architecture cultures. The recently published Flanders Architectural Review N°15. Alliances with the Real is no exception in this regard. On the occasion of the publication of this book, leading figures from both architecture cultures are invited for a discussion. What social and spatial challenges do we have in common, and where do they differ? How do current-day environmental, political and socio-economic tendencies inform the architectural practice within each region and their oppertunities for exchange? To what extent do we share an architectural culture, and where can we learn from our differences?
The debate was moderated by Vicky Richardson, head of architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts (UK). Speakers:
"Architecture in Flanders is the envy of many practitioners in London."‐ Vicky Richardson, head of architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts
- Ellis Woodman, director of the Architecture Foundation
"I had not heard the phrase "As Found" until I worked for Sergison Bates. Soon there will be a colloquium with that title in Flanders."‐ Jan Vermeulen, architect and founder of Studio Jan Vermeulen
- Sofie De Caigny, director Flanders Architecture Institute
"When we first worked in Flanders, we found it quite exotic, yet familiar."‐ Stephen Bates, partner at Sergison Bates architects
Contemporary architecture is facing social upheavals that are harder than ever to ignore. The housing shortage, changing visions on education, the collective past, public space and new care needs – these issues are becoming more urgent by the day. The hesitant response to such crises puts the (international) success of architecture from Flanders and Brussels into perspective. Flanders Architectural Review N°15. Alliances with the Real showcases some of the most striking recent architecture in Flanders and Brussels and the surprising responses to the aforementioned challenges. Ten essays and two photo series provide critical reflection and hold a mirror up to the world of architecture. Alliances with the Real calls for social commitment and social entrepreneurship from all those who contribute to the (un)built environment.order the book