From the first fieldtrips for the design of a library in Burundi to involving over 150 workshop participants in the construction of a public building in Belgium, the stories in this book tell how BC architects & studies engage in acts of building. Each story departs from an artefact used in the construction process of four recent projects. Each story touches on specific features of BC’s architectural practice. Together they suggest a trajectory of how BC hopes architecture can contribute to our world in transition.
The book is structured around a collection of stories that take artefacts as points of departure. These tools, machines and formwork were used for the construction of four projects. Around them, a multitude of actors and processes come to the fore and, from there, the image of a hybrid architecture practice starts to emerge. BC’s take on the act of building progressively evolves from local and very specific experiences, as the stories bring forward a series of interwoven themes, such as the choice to work with local resources and skills, the interest for materials such as earth and hempcrete, the thrill of pioneering, the risks that come together with experimenting, the inscription into an existing building culture and network of builders, the organization of workshops or building camps, the need for fruitful collaborations, the necessary redefinition of the professional boundaries, the direct engagement in material production and construction, etcetera. By describing the way BC designs and performs the act of building, the book suggests ways in which BC hopes architecture can contribute to our world in transition.
This book is the result of the work that Pauline Lefebvre, researcher and theoretician of architecture, conducted at, with and about BC architects & studies. She researched their practice as part of her broader inquiry about architects’ increased involvement in construction and materials as a renewed form of political engagement in architecture. For four months, she was a full-time participant in the activities of the office. Together with BC, she designed this book as both an independent proposition and a complement to the participation of BC architects & studies in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition — La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.