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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/18525

Title: New narratives for existing houses in Flanders, Belgium: exploring the discourse on retrofitting dwellings
Authors: VAN DE WEIJER, Marijn
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: arq. Architectural research quarterly 19(1), p. 18-29
Abstract: This article addresses divergent viewpoints on housing design which feed an ongoing societal and architectural debate about the residential culture in Flanders (Belgium). This discourse centres on the sustainability of the significant amount of large, freestanding single-family dwellings in low-density settlement patterns. This contribution discusses how a two week, intensive design studio for students of interior architecture and architecture was organised as an arena for this discourse. This was done by linking the studio to the questions and tentative outcomes of an overarching research entitled ‘Large underused dwellings in Flanders’, which enquired into potential adaptive strategies for Flemish residential neighbourhoods. This link provided a framework for the studio, which was explored in the assignment to retrofit an existing dwelling for shared, more efficient and compact use. The studio process was organised by a logbook and a matrix proposing twelve combinations of four dwellings and three project briefs, guiding the students toward the proposal of a feasible project brief. These instruments recorded arguments, concepts and assessments of students and design mentors, and these decision making processes were analysed by the researchers. The consideration of contradictive viewpoints resulted in diverging propositions, which feed back into the research project. Such perspectives were made substantial in spatial design proposals, which demonstrate the potential of the built environment and current limitations inherent to legislation, public opinion and market value. This article concludes with a discussion of this interaction between research and design and outlines the relevance of introducing ongoing controversies requiring designers to formulate their proper disciplinary position and arguments. Hence, this experiment advances the interaction between research, design and education by organising a reflective and critical mode of coproduction, complementing the more common model of apprenticeship in architectural education.
Notes: accepted for publication
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/18525
DOI: 10.1017/S1359135515000275
ISI #: 000356493600006
ISSN: 1359-1355
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validation: ecoom, 2016
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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