The Ambition of the Territory—Belgian Pavilion Venice 2012
The temporary association AWJGGRAUaDVVTAT (Architecture Workroom Brussels, designer Joost Grootens, GRAU, architects De Vylder, Vinck, Taillieu and artist Ante Timmermans) has been selected to organise the Belgian pavilion at the International Architecture Biennale to be held in Venice in 2012. The mandate was issued by the Flemish Architecture Institute and the Flemish Government Architect to develop an exhibition concept that reveals the essence of ViA Ruimte.
In the past century, the construction and protection of the welfare state in Flanders has resulted in thoroughgoing horizontal urbanisation within its territory. Due to this, the pressure for urbanisation in Flanders has increased to such an extent that the differing economic, ecological and demographic spatial issues increasingly conflict with one another. Almost every square kilometre of Flanders contains the same complexity of functions, without this mix yielding a specific quality or perspective on development. Responsible for this are the current spatial planning principles that separate the uses of space from each other instead of linking them.
To provide a sustainable answer to these relevant challenges, the project ‘The Ambition of the Territory’ wishes to investigate an alternative spatial model. Flanders is presented as a complex of complementary, transnational and autarkic metropolitan regions. A metropolis is an urban area in which seemingly conflicting spatial claims can be reconciled in an integrated "metabolism". Greater urbanisation does not necessarily mean less landscape, and spatial planning that stimulates economic growth does not have to come at the expense of quality of life. The metropolis encourages innovative spatial concepts such as productive landscapes, hybrid living/working environments and multimodal transportation.
The proposed spatial scenario for Flanders will be tested in detail via a design study at multiple ateliers. For the urgent challenges faced by Flanders, specific development questions have been formulated that will be tested by a design team on representative subdomains and at representative scales within the territory. On the one hand, this explorative study will result in components for updating the vision formation within the spatial policy of Flanders. On the other hand, this process will result in a presentation by the atelier at the Belgian Pavilion during the 13th 2012 International Architecture Biennale to be held in Venice.