Structural Contingencies is a research platform at the Faculty of Architecture, KU Leuven, coordinated by Caroline Voet. It is built upon the exchange between Masterstudios, architectural practices and academic research, and is based at Campus Sint-Lucas Ghent.
The Studios Structural Contingencies undertake a series of collective/individual projects exploring the architectural potential of transformation as a foundation to design large-scale construction projects. Trough the research of specific historical artifacts, urbanisms and atmospheres, through processes of abstraction and superposition in time, we create layered and critical contingencies for the current design practice.
At the heart of Structural Contingencies lies the autonomy of architectural language: the re-reading of material and structural details in their relation to the experience of the spaces they enclose. We work from the structural detail and the interior to the urban fabric, by (re)drawing and (re)modeling. Through strategies of re-use, mimesis and superposition, existing pioneering architectures are read carefully as primary and ontological structures and spaces. Aim is to reveal connections between design strategies and tools within their historical timeframe, and the architectural structures, spaces and atmospheres that strung from them.
These re-readings are treated as what Claude Lévi-Strauss called a pre-constrained set, and employed to create new architectural possibilities. The design of a large-scale public building embedded within a city fabric, with its own narrative of history and use, translates the re-readings into a new proposal. The reality of land and material scarcity is addressed through the autonomy of architecture, challenging preconceptions on spatial quality and density. As Tom Emmerson stated, re-use is not an alternative to the new. It is a new reality. Every piece of land has been occupied or inhabited. New buildings are simply another way of re-using the land. At first glance, the re-reading is the analytical and proposals are the synthetic but in fact both are borne of the imagination.
Coordinator Structural Contigencies / Architect / Assistent professor
- Practice based in Antwerp: http://www.voetendebrabandere.be/
- Research group ARP: http://www.arp-kuleuven.be/
- Caroline Voet (1974) is a Belgian architect and academic. With professional and research qualifications and experience in architecture, along with a PhD on design strategies, Voet operates through the oscillation between theory and practice. She is particularly interested in the development of architectural language, spatial systematics and design strategies. Through the dissection of (un)built heritage, architectural drawings and teaching material, she scans and reconstructs new paths of knowledge transferal. She is currently developing the new research line ‘Pioneering practices in the Seventies’, on the work of for example architect Juliaan Lampens.
- Her scholarly research has been published in a number of international journals including ARQ (Cambridge University Press) and Interiors (Routlegde). She wrote for the Architectural Yearbook Flanders and in 2016 she was co-editor of the book Autonomous Architecture in Flanders. Her latest book Dom Hans van der Laan. A House for the Mind received the DAM Architectural Book of the Year Award 2018.
- Caroline Voet has been affiliated with the Faculty of Architecture of KU Leuven since 2006. In 2013, she defended her PhD on the work of architect Dom Hans van der Laan. Since October 2017, she is a tenured assistant professor. She teaches architectural theory and practice in the Masters and runs the master studios ‘Structural Contingencies’. Since 2014, Caroline Voet is co-curator of the faculty’s ADO network (Academic Design Office), restructuring the Masters towards a research-oriented platform. She was invited lecturer at for example ETH Zürich and Leibniz University Hannover. Since 2016, she is also guest professor at TU Delft, chair of Interiors.
- Parallel to her research, Caroline Voet leads the practice Voet en De Brabandere focuses on heritage, reconversions and the design of public interiors and scenography. They work for clients as the Flemish Architecture Institute (VAi), Design Vlaanderen and Cinematek Brussels. Their scenography at the Museum Plantin Moretus in Antwerp was awarded the prestigious Ultima Cultural Award 2017.
- Before she founded her own practice in 2004, she was project architect at Zaha Hadid Architects (London) and Christian Kieckens (Brussels). In 2001, she received the Godecharle Award for Architecture. Prior to this, she studied architecture in Antwerp, Belgium, before attending a Master at the Design Research Laboratory at the Architectural Association in London, where she graduated with distinction in 1999. Her AA thesis project ‘Fyber Space’ was awarded the Alex Stanhope Forbes Price. She taught at the Architectural Association and the VUB (Free University of Brussels). Caroline Voet is a member of the Van der Laan Foundation, and equally was a member of the editorial board of the Architectural Yearbook 2012-2013, issued by the VAi (Flemish Architecture Institute).
Architect / PhD Researcher
- Practice based in Rotterdam: http://www.suboffice.nl/
- Research group ARP: http://www.arp-kuleuven.be/
- Eireen Schreurs (1968) is a Dutch architect and academic. She has a teaching and research position at the TU Delft since 2004, and she joined the program of Structural Contingencies in 2017. Next to her academic work Eireen Schreurs holds the Rotterdam based architecture firm SUBoffice with Like Bijlsma since 2002. Their portfolio ranges from architectural research to socially engaged projects. With the co-housing project Hooidrift the office has won the Rotterdam Architecture prize 2017.
- She uses her combined expertise as a practitioner and academic to write on a wide range of topics, with a special interest in the project of the collective realm, in design processes and material culture. This has resulted in several publications and the participation in editorial boards. She has written articles in amongst others OASE and OverHolland and a contribution to the book Autonomous Architecture in Flanders. Regular publications on Dutch web journal Archined aim to bridge the gap between practice and theory. Granted subsidies for the NWO (Dutch Academic Fund) and the Dutch Fund for the Creative Industries have resulted in the book publications The New Craftschool (2018), and the exhibition City of Stone (2017) at Bureau Europa Maastricht. Currently she is in the editorial board of the Flemish Architecture book, issued by the VAi (Flemish Architecture Institute).
- In 2018 Eireen Schreurs has started a PhD, supervised by Caroline Voet (KU Leuven) and Lara Schrijver (U Antwerp). The doctorate is called Understanding architecture from its material manufacture, and it researches the architectural project through its processes of materialisation. Case study research and the development of specific drawing techniques combine practical knowledge with existing theories on materialisation. The aim of the study is to gain a better understanding of how material culture is produced and it will help to make the material literacy of architects explicit.
Architect / PhD Researcher
- Practice based in Antwerp: http://www.schenkhattori.com/
- Steven Schenk is geboren in België en studeerde architectuur aan de Universiteit Antwerpen (BE) en aan de Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio (CH). Voor de oprichting van zijn eigen atelier heeft hij bij verschillende architectenbureaus gewerkt, waaronder Christian Kieckens Architecten in Brussel (BE) en Miller & Maranta Architekten in Basel (CH). Hij was ook assistent ontwerpen aan de ETH in Zürich (CH).
- Daisuke Hattori is geboren in Japan en studeerde aan de Keio Universiteit in Kanagawa (JP) en aan de Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio (CH). Hij heeft voor verschillende architectenbureaus gewerkt in Denemarken, Japan, Frankrijk en Zwitserland waaronder voor Éric Lapierre Experience in Parijs (FR).
- Het bureau werkt aan uiteenlopende projecten, gaande van meubelontwerp tot renovaties, en dit zowel in België als in Japan. Hierbij staat hun onderzoek naar de ‘présence’ centraal. Hoe zien en ervaren we de realiteit? Hoe kun je betekenis aan een vorm toevoegen? Vanuit hun fascinatie voor de ‘esthetikos’ (≈ waarneming) tracht Schenk Hattori verschillende betekenislagen aan een ontwerp toe te voegen. Dit leidt telkens tot een uitgepuurde vormentaal; een architectuur die streeft naar eenheid en culturele verschillen overstijgt.
- Practice based in Ghent: http://www.coussee-goris.com/
Engeneer Architect PhD
- Practice based in Gent: http://www.juno-architecten.be/
- Hera Van Sande (1969) obtained a master in architectural engineering at the University of Ghent and studied at the Shibaura Kogyo University in Tokyo. She is professor Design Studio and Building Techniques at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and guest professor Design Studio at KU Leuven, Faculty of Architecture. She holds a Ph.D. (2008, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) in architectural engineering and history on the domain of identity search within Japanese modernist architecture.
- Current research focusses on the spatial systematic of Japanese architecture and on the spatial qualities of minimal housing.
- She was editorial associate of Architecture + Urbanism from 2003 until 2009
- She collaborated on several occasion with the Japanese architect Toyo Ito. She was project architect for the Bruges pavilion 2002 and collaborated twice on the competition for the new library Krook in Ghent. She also published several articles in the work of Toyo Ito in A+U.
- Currently she is artistic director of the architectural association Archipel vzw.
- Hera Van Sande leads the practice Juno Architecten. They believe in a sincere search for essence, for simplicity within a multitude, for subtle layering, for power without pretension, for purity, for poetry within a prosaic story. There is no prescribed path.