ANTWERP AS A LABORATORY FOR THE CITY OF THE FUTURE. How does architecture make a city? This was the central question that the University of Antwerp’s Faculty of Design Sciences and the Flanders Architecture Institute decided to explore. As their test case, they used Antwerp, a complex city in which experimental design plays a leading role. The result can be seen in From Imagination to City, an exhibition that lays bare the hidden mechanisms of the metropolis.
- Stefan Siffer
Designing a medium-sized city From Imagination to City shows how projects that are the tangible result of design research have been applied to the Antwerp City Region. The University of Antwerp’s Faculty of Design Sciences went in search of the mechanisms that invent, represent and shape the city. And Siffer believes that as a test case, the city on the Scheldt was an obvious choice: “For decades, Antwerp has been playing a pioneering role in city development processes in which design-based research plays a leading role.” It was not for nothing that the Antwerp City Architect won the Flemish Culture Prize in 2012 for the use of design-based research in city development policy. In From Imagination to City it is comparable with other medium-sized European cities with populations of between 400,000 and 900,000. The exhibition provides an insight into the implicit logic of a city: its collective images, its different moods and possible scenarios for its future.
Vision for the future. The conceptual exercises featured in this exhibition give residents, policy makers and visitors the chance to imagine the impact that a new building or a new city square could have on the way that a city is experienced. Lara Schrijver believes that vision plays a crucial role in this: “For many city residents, urban development is an abstract concept. We hope that a glimpse into our laboratory will help to explain the vision for the future.”
From Imagination to City is part of PROJECTIONS, a series of exhibitions in which the Flanders Architecture Institute and deSingel provide a platform for existing research in Flanders. The driving factors behind the choice of projects are social themes and/questioning the role of the discipline of architecture in society.