John Enright introduces Aurélie Hachez.
Hachez proposes to structure her talk in three parts: References, Context, and Projects.
She cites as References Aby Warburg’s work to understand history through images, the city metaphors of O. M. Ungers, the space of Flemish and Dutch painting, and the ironic but functional designs of Achille Castiglioni and his two brothers.
Hachez discusses the Belgian context in terms of Reyner Banham’s analysis of Los Angeles. She proposes four ecologies of Belgium:
1. The Sea Front, or, New Atlantic wall, contrasting the unique quality of light and opening with brutal and heavy beachfront architecture.
2. The Highway, or the Belgian dream. Hachez describes how the dense Belgian highway network has created a distinctive urbanism (“Tunnel cities”) living spaces (rural in back, highway in front).
3. The Sprawl, or the “city of Belgium”. Hachez suggests ubiquitous sprawl has created a situation where Donald Trump’s remark that “Belgium is a beautiful city” is not inaccurate.
4. The Individual House, as a specific common place. Hachez argues that in the absence of major public works, the history of Belgian architecture is a history of houses, with a tradition of idiosyncratic domesticity, absurdity, and fantasies.
Hachez describes in detail three recent projects:
•L’Ermitage (2018), a renovation of historic 1946 apartment building in Brussels
•Ulysse (2018), an extension of a renovated farmhouse in Tournai
•A project for a vocational school in Templeuve (in process)