On 1 January 2018, Dr Sofie De Caigny will succeed Dr Christoph Grafe as director of the Flanders Architecture Institute. This change of leadership, in conjunction with the establishment of the Flanders Architecture Archives, represents a phase of rapid expansion. Says De Caigny: “As originally planned, the Flanders Architecture Institute is developing into a full-fledged professional institute with a collection, thereby bringing us into line with similar bodies in neighbouring countries.”
The expansion of the institute requires a structural change and the new umbrella organisation will henceforth be steered as a coherent entity. Prof. Dr Christoph Grafe, who became director on 1 January 2011 and fulfils his duties alongside his academic career, will hand over the baton to Dr Sofie De Caigny on 1 January 2018. De Caigny previously coordinated the Centre for Flemish Architectural Archives, an organisation that recently merged with the Architectural Archives of the Province of Antwerp to form the Flanders Architecture Archives. She has represented the Flanders Architecture Institute within ICAM (International Confederation of Architectural Museums) since 2006, becoming the association’s Secretary General in 2014.
The new Flanders Architecture Institute, with an integrated archive, is in a better position than ever before to bridge the gap between the architecture of the past, present and future
Sofie De Caigny plans to develop the dynamic of the Flanders Architecture Institute: “I aim to devote my energies to expanding the collection of architectural archives in Flanders and Brussels. I want to ensure that the vitality which characterises architecture in Flanders is made accessible to future generations of designers and researchers,” says De Caigny. “The Flanders Architecture Institute must be a place that offers opportunities to young designers. I also want to use my international network to create a forum for the new generation.”
‘The Flanders Architecture Institute must be a place that offers opportunities to young designers’
Sofie De Caigny
In recent years, Sofie De Caigny and the outgoing director, Christoph Grafe, have actively collaborated on enriching the intellectual scope and depth of the organisation. The results of their work can be seen in two editions of the Flanders Architectural Review (2016 and 2018) and the exhibition Maatwerk that De Caigny curated for the German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt.
Under the leadership of Christoph Grafe, the Flanders Architecture Institute has transitioned from being a support organisation to the leading professional body for architecture in Flanders. Grafe: "The Flanders Architecture Institute fulfills its role as a catalyst for dialogue between architects and users, policy makers and society. And this in all its diversity. " At the same time, the exhibitions programme, a collaboration with deSingel, has garnered increasing national and international acclaim, while the Flanders Architectural Review has developed into an authoritative publication that makes the architecture of Flanders and Brussels visible to a broader and more global audience. Other noteworthy achievements include the presentation in the Belgian pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, a collaboration with the curatorial team Bravoure. In the future, Christoph Grafe will continue his cross-border involvement in the architecture world of Flanders and North Western Europe from his chair in Architectural History and Theory at the University of Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), a position that he has held since 2013.