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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/16783

Title: Reconfiguration, Replacement or Removal? Evaluating the Flemish Post-War Detached Dwelling and its Part in Contemporary Spatial Planning and Architecture.
Other Titles: Aanpassen, Vervangen, of Verwijderen? Een Evaluatie van de Rol van Naoorlogse, Vrijstaande Woningen in de Hedendaagse Ruimtelijke Ordening en Architectuur in Vlaanderen.
Authors: VAN DE WEIJER, Marijn
Advisors: VAN CLEEMPOEL, Koenraad
Heynen, Hilde
Ryckewaert, Michael
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: This research explores whether the intrinsic spatial surplus of the post - war, detached dwellings and low-density, dispersed residential neighbourhoods in Flanders, holds potential for transformation in line with con temporary housing standards and demands. This work adopted an architectural approach in order to investigate the feasibility of transformative strategies. Hence, it forms one of three complementary tracks of the FWO funded project Large, Underused Dwellings in Flanders, and is based on typological and design-based research, whereas the other two tracks have respectively studied the shared problem from a geographical and a discursive perspective. This doctoral project has also taken on a second goal which is to frame such design-based enquiry in an academic context. As main source for data gathering throughout the entire project, 10 municipalities across Flanders, with a significant share of detached dwellings, were selected as case studies. About 80% of the Flemish housing stock consists of single family houses, of which 42% are detached dwellings. Many of these were built on spacious lots in a semi-rural or suburban environment during the massive suburbanisation process which was started after the Second World War. The detached dwelling in a semi-rural, green environment has been a key building stone in this process, and is still perceived as the ideal housing situation by many Flemings. The structure of small-scale ownership ensures continuity, and the system facilitates incremental infill of empty lots and retrofitting existing dwellings. This housing model and its mode of production can however be seen as problematical, because they no longer match demographical and socio-economic developments. The ageing population, and the decreasing average household size, result in a demand for other residential typologies: smaller, more compact, and preferably closer to urbanised cores. Moreover, academic researchers, spatial planners an d designers associate the continuation of this mode of spatial production with high emission levels, traffic congestion and loss of open space. Hence there is an emerging interest in, and a need for, alternative models and strategies of transformation. The main body of the work is preceded by an exploration of designerly research, which emerged as a methodology proper to architectural research. Chapter two describes how different approaches to designerly research are used in practice and academia, sharing the goal to address inert and ill-defined problems. A theoretical framework for exchange between scientific and design-based methodologies, allowing the development of transdisciplinary modes of enquiry into ill-defined problems is proposed. Cons equentially, the thesis develops such a process of exchange. Complementary research approaches build on tentative observations and results, and contribute to the understanding of design strategies intervening in the residential environment on different scale levels. The viewpoints of inhabitants of detached dwellings regarding potential adaptive strategies a represented in chapter three. In chapter four, the viewpoints of inhabitants are complemented with a typological analysis of a sample of 65 dwellings documented during field work, in order to determine potential and resistance vis-à-vis transformative concepts on the scale of the dwelling. Chapter five enquires how professional actors involve the detached dwelling and potential design strategies for transformation in their work. A site- and case specific design approach is explored in chapter six, based on a workshop with students in interior architecture and architecture. The workshop investigated plausible conditions and narratives to implement transformative design concepts on the level of the dwelling. The thesis concludes by reviewing these diverse perspectives, addressing the paradoxes and alliances which are exposed, and outlines how these prototypical strategies could impact concrete municipalities. This analysis informs the formulation of three visions on transformation of low density residential environments, combining the strategies of reconfiguration (the retrofitting of existing dwellings) replacement (demolishing existing dwellings and replacing these with alternative dwelling types on site ) and removal (the demolition of dwellings in remote locations followed by densification in more central areas). These visions outline potential evolutions towards differentiation and densification of Flemish residential neighbourhoods.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/16783
Link to publication: https://lirias.kuleuven.be/handle/123456789/451163
ISBN: 978-94-6018-823-7
Category: T1
Type: Theses and Dissertations
Appears in Collections: PhD theses
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