The roots of the Architectural Review Flanders No. 11 are in our daily life. The selected projects for 'Embedded Architectures' are ambitious, self-aware, have a strong presence and have been designed with the utmost care. And yet there never is a palpable sense of vanity. A vital prerequisite for the existence of these buildings is their daily use. What happens here happens as a matter of course but also becomes extraordinary. This architecture is not founded on formal acrobatics nor is it showy. It does not aim to entertain but instead penetrates every aspect of our existence. So when does the banal take on a special significance? When the shadow in the forest becomes a building. When a waterfall of rooms turns into a house. When care is incorporated in the village.
The result is an exceptionally diverse and wide offering. The Architectural Review proves that architecture culture has penetrated every level of society, in even the most far-flung corner of Flanders: in child-care centres, schools, community centres, sport centres, housing, universities, psychiatric centres, fire stations, nursing homes and crematoriums. The book highlights the huge variety of today’s architecture with buildings of a varying scale, various programmes and users, and sometimes with completely opposing spatial ambitions. And yet these buildings also have a lot in common. They have all been conceived as worlds that take the knowledge and the expectations of the clients and users seriously, without ever obliterating the architectural aspect. Architects rethink spatial constellations and devise formal and material solutions that make a wide range of forms of residence both pleasant and surprising.
The renowned Magnum photographer Harry Gruyaert breathes life into the architecture The various projects are discussed in the essays. But architectural photography also plays an important role in this edition of the Architectural Review. Magnum photographer Harry Gruyaert brings out the cursoriness, the variability and industriousness that is generated by architecture. The buildings come to life in his pictorial essay and are transformed into colourful, poetic places to live.
About the Architectural Review Flanders Series This book is the 2014 edition of the Architectural Review Flanders Series, which is published by the Flemish Architecture Institute. The architectural output of the past two years is critically examined in words and pictures in 'Embedded Architectures'. For the past 20 years the Architectural Review Flanders has served as a manifesto of experimentation in architecture as well as a reference work of striking buildings.
We received no fewer than 440 submissions after our call, an increase of 38% compared with the previous Architectural Review. The Flemish Architecture Institute was especially pleased that the biennial call for projects is reaching an increasingly wider audience. Projects were submitted by 269 architectural firms, a 47% increase compared with the previous edition.
The Flemish Architecture Institute is a centre for contemporary architecture. Its aim is to raise public awareness about the importance of a well-designed environment, as well as stimulating the public debate on the design of buildings and cities and disseminating knowledge about architecture. We organise exhibitions, lectures, debates, architecture trips, produce publications and coordinate events such as the biennial Architectural Review Flanders and the Festival of Architecture.