“The Ambition of the territory” at deSingel Antwerpen (05th of October 2012 – 06th of January 2013) by the temporary association AWJGGRAUaDVVTAT (Architecture Workroom Brussels, designer Joost Grootens, GRAU, architects De Vylder, Vinck, Taillieu and artist Ante Timmermans)
AWJGGRAUaDVVTAT is an urban think-(and-do)-tank that was selected by the Flemish Architecture Institute and the Flemish Government Architect to expose their work in the Belgian Pavilion for the International Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2012.
The research and exhibition project developed for the Belgian Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Biennale is presented in a parallel setting to the Flemish public in the deSingel exhibition programme in Antwerp. In deSingel, The Ambition of the Territory has also taken the form of a workshop. During the coming months, experts, policy makers, designers and other citizens will engage in intensive discussions, debates and design activities. The Hungry City and De Mensen maken de stad are just some of many debates and conferences organised in parallel to the exhibition. DeSingel wants to become a workshop for design thinking in which the ambition of the Flanders territory will take concrete shape.
The exhibition aims to develop a sustainable alternative to the ongoing horizontal urbanisation within the Flemish territory.
The continuous suburbanization of the territory seems to have reached its limits – the ongoing urbanization in Flanders has increased to such an extent that the differing economic, ecological and demographic spatial issues increasingly conflict with one another. Nearly the same complexity of functions characterizes every square kilometer in Flanders, without giving it a specific quality. Responsible for this is the modernist land use plan that lead to a horizontal separation of the uses without linking them to each other.
What alternatives does the exhibition give to meet these more than relevant challenges?
First of all: productivity and economic growth don’t have to be at the expense of the quality of life or the landscape, on the contrary, productive landscapes, hybrid living/working environments and multimodal transportation can help to improve it. The team puts forward a scenario for the future founded on high-quality interaction between the various claims on space. In this scenario, Flanders becomes part of a metropolitan network of complementary, cross-border and self-supporting regions.
Also, the urban think tank defines a need to stop theorizing alternative ways of metropolitanisation and to start to test them in detail via a concrete design process. The specific development questions have been tested by a design team on representative subdomains and at representative scales within the territory. You can see the outcome of this testing in the exhibited models.
Various interviews with experts, policy makers, designers and other citizens can give you a deeper insight into the sustainable vision for Flanders:
Interview wih Ante Timmermans: