How can a young architecture firm raise essential questions about the nature of cities to the public?
Translate those questions into paintings and put them where people go: in a museum.
This exhibition at Brussels’ Center for Fine Arts attracted large publicity in the Belgian and European press. Due to its success, the exhibition - originally programmed for six months in an auxiliary room - lasted 18 months and moved to the entrance hall of the museum. As a result of this project, a long-term relationship with the Center for Fine Arts started and our office was asked to design several pretigious scenographies for exhibitions.
The installation consisted of three images on a lightbox that were accompanied by a brochure. The brochure included a guide to understanding the images, written by Christophe Van Gerrewey.
We devised the project concept after realizing that architects usually think about buildings and space but rarely focus on the larger context, namely the city and urban network. Photo montage has become a predominant media in architecture since Mies Van Der Rohe. This technique enables the architect to work with existing material to create a new condition, which consists of the same process as to build a building in an existing urban network. For this project, we manipulated photo montages to caricature three cities.
Each image magnifies and reveals an existing aspect of each city. Brussels becomes the residential city when its urban network is essentially composed of single-family houses. Liege becomes the modern city when every building older than 65 years is removed. Bruges becomes the museum city when its urban network is mainly composed of monuments. Each of these aspects are central topics of the contemporary debate on architecture in most of European cities. By exaggerating each of these aspects, we emphasized the condition that each of these situation would generate. However, the media we used enabled us to create very credible images that reveal its subtle twists only if the spectators have the intention to “make the pictures”.
My role was to produce the photo montages of the three cities, to coordinate lightbox construction, and to set up the exhibition.
To read the full brochure, follow the link below: