Architecture Workroom

Antwerp— Mapping the shift of metropolitan phenomena in Berchem extra muros

The City of Antwerp is pursuing a renewal process for the city. The strategic Spatial Structure Plan for Antwerp (s-RSA) will be reviewed using three thematic pillars: Flowing cityCooperative city, and Liveable city. The Liveable city component consists of a study of the prerequisites and levers for mapping the liveability in districts, and was carried out in 2017. Building on the insights obtained as a result of this study the City of Antwerp District Berchem subsequently launched a study on the 'Shift of metropolitan phenomena in Berchem extra muros'. For this assignment Architecture Workroom Brussels is working once more with anthropologist and pedagogue Ruth Soenen of Simply Community and social geographer Christian Kesteloot from the geography department at KULeuven.

Various policy documents call for the population increase Antwerp faces in the coming years to be viewed as an opportunity to renew the city as well as to boost social life in the districts. There is also a special focus on the 20th century belt, which offers relatively greater potential than in the city centre for achieving this ambition. This potential is found at the point where the spatial and the social domains converge.

In order to steer and anticipate the change processes already in motion more actively, developing sufficient insight into, and knowledge of, the way in which social relationships evolve in this very specific urban space, and which in turn can leave their mark, is crucial. These social relationships are changing considerably.

This is reflected, for example, in the fact that for a long time the 20th century belt was considered the home ground of people that had fled the city, whereas today an increasing number of people are moving there, who in principle, would like to live in the city centre but for diverse reasons can no longer do so (due to the shortage of family housing with gardens, affordable homes, etc.).

The mapping study into 'liveable districts' demonstrated how outsiders quickly perceive 20th century neighbourhoods as being 'dead' while in reality they are often home to extremely liveable streets or neighbourhoods. It is just that this liveability is often less visible and of a different order than that associated with the city centre. These kinds of insights form important reference points when we have to examine new ‘residential environments’ for the future.

This study builds on the conceptual and methodological framework that was set out in the 'liveable districts' mapping study. Following a quick scan of the 20th century belt, the study focuses on Berchem extra muros. This area serves as an operational base, firstly by identifying 'families of challenges' using design research, and elaborating the associated change scenarios. We will go on to connect the design research to the everyday level and the socio-geographical analysis. This will result in a 'reality check' through several small-scale, but heterogeneous research situations that will be analysed retrospectively using the 'horizontal ethnography' method.

The idea is to devise more action-oriented proposals by linking spatial insights and proposals for change to the social dimension, namely the everyday experience of residents and more structural social processes.

The 'Living in Berchem extra muros: Is the city getting (too) close?' workshop served as the kick-off for this study. During this event policymakers, urban professionals, experts and other parties involved were invited to bundle their knowledge, and engage in dialogue. As a follow-up we are continuing our work using design research, cartography, observations and discussions with diverse parties. This is our approach for examining the way in which ongoing urbanisation in the 20th century belt can be mapped out, what the opportunities and possibilities are, and how these insights can then be translated into a different type of socio-spatial, urban development pathway.


Publication— Designing the Future
CS Genk— Campus Bret 21st century learning landscape
IABR-Atelier Rotterdam— and test site M4H
IABR–Atelier East Flemish Regio— Has left the starting blocks
Regional Call IABR-Atelier OVK— Help shape the future of the East Flanders Core region
IABR-Atelier Rotterdam— Energy transition as an urban project
IABR-Atelier Rotterdam— Call to Architects
Open Space Platform— Call Water-Land-Schap
Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia
Open Space Platform— Publication Operation Open Space
THE MISSING LINK— Curator Statement, Research Agenda and Call for Practices
Atelier Zennevallei
Urban Intervention — BRIDGE
Workshop Series — Urban Economy in the Brussels Metropolitan Area
Lecture and Debate — Fitting More Industry In
Rotterdam Biennale appoints three curators for diptych 2018+2020
A Whole World to Win— Floris Alkemade in conversation with Els Vervloesem and Joachim Declerck
Masterclass— Caring Neighborhoods
Atelier Kortrijk 2025— Innovative urban development strategy
Designing The Future— series of debates
Atelier Brussels— Masterclasses
Atelier Brussels— Lectures Structure and Stimulus
Atelier Brussels— Urban Walks
Antwerp— Study to map the livability of neighbourhoods
Atelier Brussels— Expo A Good City Has Industry
Spoor Oost— Urban Renewal Project
City of Bruges— Week of the City
Zeebrugge Revitalisation— Urban Renewal Project
Torhout— experiential and identity study
Launch OASE 96 Social Poetics— The Architecture of Use and Appropriation
From cure to care— transitions in the healthy city of Utrecht
Atelier Brussels— Urban Meeting IABR
Urban Meeting Bozar— The Productive Metropolis
Imagine Europe— Bozar
Atelier Brussels— The Productive Metropolis
Call for design teams— Atelier Brussels The Productive Metropolis
Development strategy— Ostend Eastern Shore
Review of spatial structure plan— Bruges City
The City as Factory— Buda Workroom
Colloquium — Architecture in Belgium and Turkey: Changing practices
Architecture Culture Platform
Ghent Muide-Meulestede
IABR 2016 — Atelier Utrecht: The Healthy City
Publication—Reweaving the Urban Carpet
Eurodelta 2030 - 2100
Eurometropolitan Blue Space
Atelier— Productive BXL
Atelier de Stad— Brussels
Lecture — Mark Brearley
Festival Kanal Play Ground
Metropolitan Coast Landscape 2100
IABR 2014 Urban by Nature— Atelier Brabantstad
Exploration of the Future of Flemish Land Company (VLM)
Productive Space By Design— conference
Strategic vision— Kern Rechteroever in Aalst
Strategic exploration— pilot projects productive landscape
Atelier— In Between
Atelier à Habiter— Exhibition
Preparatory workshop— development plan for Sidaplax in Ghent
Atelier De Stad Brussels— Kanal Play Ground
International Atelier— Eurometropolis
Expert advice— 'Nieuw Gent'
Preparatory workshop— housing development plan in Kapellen
Publication—The Ambition of the Territory
Symposium—Naar een gedeelde ontwerpagenda voor Vlaanderen
Vlaanderen als Ontwerp— Atelier
The Ambition of the Territory— deSingel International Arts Campus
Lecture—Carolyn Steel - The Hungry City
Changing Cultures of Planning— Rotterdam, Zürich, Nantes, Randstad, Bordeaux
Towards a Visionary Housing Production in Flanders
Guide plan—Brussels canal
The Ambition of the Territory—Belgian Pavilion Venice 2012
Making City—5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam
Project definition—new prison in Haren
Building for Brussels— Architecture and urban transformation in Europe
Making City—Atelier Istanbul
G A R D E N— Parckdesign 2012
Open House Brussels—debates and artistic parcours
Exhibition—Making City
Exploring the metropolitan condition
The Next Economy— Belgium at The International Architecture Biennale 2016
Master Class—120% Brussels
City Trajectory—Brussels Canal
Program—Building For Brussels
Exhibition—Building for Brussels
Exhibition—Architecture for Justice
Concept studios—Spatial Policy Plan of Flanders
Article A+ 282 village— Cultivate the food landscape
Vacancy - Operational Director (w/m/x)
Delta Atelier document
Vacancy— Research collaborators
Vacancy— Communication manager
Transition— Learning, living, working in 2050
Publication— Architectuurcultuur in Vlaanderen (only in NL)
Workshop II— Delta Atelier Urban Management
Air For Schools workshop— Keizer Karellaan and Leopold II-tunnel
Netwerkbijeenkomst— Ontwerp met Beleid
Bap! Biennale of architecture and landscape of Île-de-France— 1st edition
Socio-spatial study— Baudelo Building Ghent
Water+Land+Scape approved
Urbanising in Place— Rosario Workshop
Social-spatial research— Ghent Sint-Pieters
Brussels Urban Landscape Biennial Edition 2018— Rising Waters
You Are Here - Brussels
Announcement — IABR-THE MISSING LINK Rotterdam and Brussels
Urbanising in Place— Building the Food-Water-Energy nexus
IABR–2018+2020–The Missing Link— Delta Atelier
Antwerp— Mapping the shift of metropolitan phenomena in Berchem extra muros
With structural support from the Flemish government and regular support from the Brussels capital region and other regional and local governments.