As of 1 April 2024, Dr Dennis Pohl will start as the new director of the Flanders Architecture Institute (VAi). In a period of transition until 1 July 2024, he will collaborate closely with current director Dr Sofie De Caigny, before fully assuming this role. Concurrently, Pohl will conclude his engagement as a postdoctoral researcher at the TU Delft Design, Data and Society Group (DDS). In his vision as director, Dennis Pohl is determined to focus on three areas: activating the archives, promoting cross-disciplinary artistic cooperation and anchoring the VAi even more in an international network.
Dennis Pohl is Postdoctoral Researcher at the TU Delft Design, Data and Society Group (DDS), and Research Coordinator at The New Open. His PhD research culminated in the publication of Building Carbon Europe (Sternberg Press, 2023), a comprehensive study that delves into the architectural histories of coal, steel, and nuclear power in post-war Europe. Dennis was a research fellow at the DFG research group “Knowledge in the Arts” at the Berlin University of the Arts (2015–18), DAAD fellow at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University New York (2018), and was awarded a fellowship at the LOEWE project “Architectures of Order,” at Goethe-University Frankfurt (2022). Most recently, he was research fellow for the exhibition POWER at the CIVA in Brussels (2023–24).
He co-directed the AA Visiting School Brussels, “House of Politics,” and contributed to significant projects such as “Eurotopie” in the Belgian pavilion at the 16th Architecture Biennial in Venice. He co-edited together with Sven Sterken the special issue “Architecture of Global Governance” of the Architectural Theory Review (2023), and guest-edited the issue no. 239 of the journal ARCH+, titled “Europe: Infrastructures of Externalization.” His writing has appeared in ARCH+, Architectural Theory Review, Archiv für Mediengeschichte, History and Technology, Migrant Journal, as well as in a number of collected volumes.
"The vision that I have is to enhance the VAi as a pivotal hub for heritage innovation, artistic synergy, and global discourse in the architectural realm."‐ Dennis Pohl
It is Dennis Pohl’s ambition to enhance the Flanders Architecture Institute as a pivotal hub for heritage innovation, artistic synergy, and global discourse in the architectural realm. Central to this vision is the activation of the VAi collection. Pohl notes, “the institute's extensive collection, a treasure trove ranging from design to the grand scale of urban planning, holds untapped potential.” By embracing linked open data and innovative visual interfaces, he intends to transform this collection into an open, interactive archive. “This not only makes the rich heritage more accessible and engaging to a broader spectrum of users but also interlinks its archives with others, turning the VAi into a nexus of collective learning that connects architects, researchers, policymakers, and citizens”, adds Pohl.
"The VAi's extensive collection is a treasure trove of heritage on all scales from ‘chairs to cities.’ By embracing linked open data and innovative visual interfaces, we can unlock this wealth, interlinking the archives with others and making the rich heritage more accessible and engaging to a broader spectrum of users."‐ Dennis Pohl
“The vibrant artistic and cultural fabric in Flanders and Brussels is unparalleled.” According to Pohl architecture not only provides the physical space but also acts as a dynamic interface with other art forms. Pohl asserts, “by enhancing the interaction between architecture and various artistic disciplines, the VAi can expand its reach, inviting a more diverse audience to explore and engage with Belgium's rich cultural legacy.”
"The vibrant artistic and cultural fabric in Flanders and Brussels is unparalleled. Architecture not only provides the physical space but also acts as a dynamic interface with other art forms."‐ Dennis Pohl
Pohl remarks, “Architecture from Flanders and Brussels gets international attention since decades. My vision is to link the VAi closer to scholars and institutions worldwide, thereby embedding the VAi firmly in the international architectural dialogue.” Pohl believes that this approach will not only solidify the VAi's position on the global map but also attract global researchers and fosters collaborations with the education sector.
Looking ahead, Dennis Pohl aspires to position the VAi as a pioneer in adapting the heritage and building culture within the paradigm of energy transition and resource conservation. He states: “In times of scarcity and environmental challenges, access to information becomes crucial. The VAi will not only serve as a repository of knowledge but will also actively engage architects and stakeholders in shaping policies that reflect the urgent need for sustainability and conservation.”
"Architecture from Flanders and Brussels gets international attention since decades. My vision is to link the VAi closer to scholars and institutions worldwide, thereby embedding the VAi firmly in the international architectural dialogue."‐ Dennis Pohl