In 2021, Composite Presence was on show at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The presentation by Bovenbouw Architectuur was very well received there and is now coming to Belgium for the first time. In Z33, a life-size model of fifty buildings exposes the friction between city and architecture.
The Flemish city
How do we design the city together? That question was the starting point for Bovenbouw Architectuur for this exhibition. Visitors walk through a fictional, but at the same time very recognisable Flemish urban environment. The model landscape shows the unique relationship between city and architecture in Flanders and Brussels. It especially emphasises the complexity of that relationship. The fifty projects are brought together in a jumble of historical, classical and modern buildings. Each has its own interpretation, function and idea of architecture. From churches and social housing to primary schools: they seem to have been plucked out of a random Flemish city.
Source of inspiration
Despite their differences, they stand side by side in harmony. Together, the buildings create a varied landscape, where a lot is possible and allowed. Yet they are consistent in all their diversity: the entire scene does not look messy or chaotic, but rich, hybrid and diverse. The staged landscape mainly shows how historical layers, formal particularities and unforeseen collisions are an endless source of inspiration for contemporary architecture.
Internationally, the high quality of architecture in Flanders and Brussels is appreciated. Where we once bore the name ugliest country, there is now fertile ground for various architectural projects. This is the result of a longstanding policy with attention to quality chambers and public tenders.
Curator: Bovenbouw Architectuur
Composite Presence, on the initiative of the Flemish Community and commissioned by the Flanders Architecture Institute, with the additional support of Vlaams Bouwmeester, Stadsbouwmeester Antwerpen and Stadsbouwmeester Gent. With the support of Delen Private Bank and Reynaers Aluminium.