Brussels, (Brussels Morning)- An exhibition about sustainable architecture opened this week at the National Building Museum in the American capital Washington DC. Not from the United States, but from Brussels, where a few bureaus turned out to be pioneers in the theme. The exhibition will run until the end of August.
The expo was opened on Thursday evening in the presence of Urban.brussels, the Brussels administration for urban planning, and Brussels.international, the administration for foreign relations. Responsible State Secretary for both themes Pascal Smet (One.brussels-Vooruit) had to cancel due to a delayed flight. He came to visit the expo on Saturday.
The initiative for the exhibition therefore came from the Region itself. The aim is to put sustainable architecture from the capital in the spotlight abroad. With Washington as the first stop, it could become a travelling exhibition, says BRUZZ. “It is a very mobile exhibition, which we certainly want to bring to Brussels,” said THOMAS VILQUIN, CURATOR . “We hope to be able to do that in 2023.”
Vilquin is an architecture teacher at La Cambre Horta-ULB and was appointed curator together with his colleague Pauline Lefèbvre. “I fully agree that Brussels has been a pioneer in the field of sustainable architecture for years. Both because of the policy and the creativity of some offices. The six architecture firms that we have selected go further than what is required by law.”
The chosen firms are Agwa, BC Architects, Ouest-Rotor, Karbon, Conix RDBM Architects and Ney & Partners. In the exhibition you will find photos of their designs on the Rogierplein or the Anspachlaan.
Do not expect large photos of Brussels buildings. In ‘Sustainable Architecture: Stories from Brussels’, the curators consciously chose the story behind the renovations, not the end result. “We definitely didn’t want to install panels, because durability goes so much further than aesthetics,” says Vilquin. “The design process is central. That is why the focus is on experience here too.”
Visitors can browse magazines with plans and photos of Brussels designs. A ‘soft room’ with cushions serves as a room for those who prefer to listen to the stories. And finally, on a central canvas are postcards that visitors can send to family or friends in the rest of the United States. (Read more below the photos)
The target audience? “The exhibition is more technical, so perhaps we will mainly attract architects. Although I think the theme is extremely important for everyone. The construction sector still demands a lot of energy and raw materials and is by far one of the most polluting sectors. At the same time, we are all dependent on it : to live, work and as part of our landscape,” says Vilquin.
Real estate as an export product
The Region also wants to propagate the fact that Brussels has a great deal of in-house expertise in circular construction. In a princely trade mission to the United States, which starts on Sunday in Atlanta, the Brussels region will, among other things, focus on promoting sustainable construction companies. Such a mission, if all goes well, offers opportunities for cooperation beyond Belgium’s borders.