Brussels Architecture Today

Le Jardin Essentiel
Square Lainé — Forest
Parckdesign 2016
Architecture: Piovenefabi in collaboration with The Decorators and artist Rudy Luijters.

mac Aoidh

Désignez une production architecturale récente qui vous semble intéressante et expliquez pourquoi?

Conceived for the 2016 edition of Parckdesign, Le Jardin Essential is a ‘cultural distillation process’ that explores the interaction between society and nature. Using Parc Duden as a testbed, a multidisciplinary team including artists, architects, designers and a host of volunteers took part in an experiment that encompassed citizen participation, environmental awareness, educational activities and social interaction. A lifeless lawn became a verdant medicinal garden, and a hotbed of biodiversity. A demountable framework structure with a retractable canopy served as the venue for workshops, events and activities related to the plants grown and harvested in the garden, and an open-air bar offered people a place to meet, share a drink and enjoy the view over Brussels. Such was the success of the project that the temporary garden became a permanent community-run initiative, while the region commissioned the architects to extend the design concept of the pavilion to 6 other Brussels parks.

Comment percevez vous le contexte architectural à Bruxelles aujourd’hui?

I think it’s a time of transition in Brussels at the moment in terms of architecture & urbanism, with more opportunities, a greater variety of practices, and a growing focus on qualities other than just saleability. There are still considerable challenges to overcome, but the city seems to finally be realising its abundant potential. Hopefully Brussels will soon no longer be known only for the kind of bland, soulless architecture that has been synonymous with the city for the last couple of decades: Brusselization in the flesh, or rather in white crépi and cold, blue glass. Built environments temper the thoughts & actions of the people who inhabit them, and as such this positive momentum for change is also palpable in the mobilisation of citizens who are actively organising and agitating for a more liveable city. It is inspiring to see so many initiatives from community organisations & other groups aiming to improve issues such as mobility, sustainability, public space and air quality.

Présentez vous en quelques lignes.

I am a practising architect with a background in Visual Communication Design and an interest in nature, urbanism, society and culture. I have been living in Brussels for the last 5 years and find it sometimes frustrating but rarely boring. After studying and working in Dublin and London, I am currently a collaborator with Robbrecht en Daem architecten in Gent. Alongside this, I also work on my own architectural projects, and write and edit texts for books, magazines and academic journals.


De interviews werden verzameld na een oproep die in september 2019 werd gelanceerd. Meer dan 60 mensen hebben deelgenomen. Een jury werd samengesteld om de antwoorden te evalueren en de beste te selecteren om hier te publiceren in groepen van 10 interviews om de 15 dagen. De jury werd op 2 oktober samengesteld door de volgende mensen: Guy Condé Reis (, Lisa De Visscher (A+), Pablo Lhoas (ULB-La Cambre), Sophie Gérard (BMA), Audrey Moulu (BMA), Guillaume Sokal (SLRB) et Nicolas Hemeleers (CityTools).

Het project is echter nog niet klaar. Een tweede fase is in volle gang: we nodigen nu iedereen uit om het formulier ook in te vullen. De oproep wordt een continue bijdrage in de komende weken en maanden. Een tweede jury kan worden samengesteld. Het formulier is nog steeds online. Vul het in.

Het project wordt geleid door en gecoördineerd door een multidisciplinair team van curatoren bestaande uit CityTools (stadsplanning), Spec uloos (grafisch vormgeving), Variable (website) en Thomas Ost (fotografie).