Third Award | Residential

Backhouse Care

After decades of sub-urbanisation throughout the western world, Eastern Europe presents us with a different peri-urban condition. The coexistence of high and low density projects make up the fringe of cities such as Leipzig, Warsaw and Ljubljana.

Participant  Name: Pieter Jan Debuyst
University: KU Leuven
Country : Belgium

Backhouse Care by Pieter Jan Debuyst - Sheet2 Current development in those cities is firmly rooted in the heritage of socialist estates and the highly desirable upper income allotments. Between the two extremes of the ultimate collective experience and the hyper individual capsule of control, an intermediate scale can exist: co-housing.

Backhouse Care by Pieter Jan Debuyst - Sheet3Co-housing is presented as a spatial concept that holds a middle ground. Both as architectural typology and planning concept, ideas of co-existence, shared space and overlap in time and space can address the complex questions that every-day society poses to urban form making. Our current approach to the European city is still based on a two dimensional zoning that can be easily criticized for its non-integrated approach. Responsible for this are the current spatial planning principles that separate the uses of space from each other instead of linking them. (Joachim Declerck, 2012). New forms of collectivity, cooperation, cohabitation and coexistence can be tested at intermediate scales to address the anonymity of the estates, accept the quality of life of the individual suburban plot and rethink the combination of both. This studio addresses an intermediate scale between the socialist collectivity and the capitalist individuality, a hybrid in relation to landscape, infrastructure and city services. The city is in search of strong design ideas that can be both urban and architectural.

Backhouse Care by Pieter Jan Debuyst - Sheet4The thesis studio is developed as a collective “research by design” unit. Students will address different aspects of the urban and architectural conditions of Ljubljana leading to either an architectural or urban design project, based on the premise that physical form and the experience of city life are inseparable and in dire need of new typologies and concepts that can address current evolutions in cohabitation. Studio Ljubljana depends on design as the tool to transform, derail, reinvent and crossbreed existing modes of operations and their associated physical form.

The studio works with a “section approach”, in which the students can choose their area of intervention along a section through the city. This section combines multiple topographies, several morphologies, a wide range of infrastructures, a range of housing typologies, reminiscence of various era’s and paradigms in city making. Each of these elements belong to larger networks and systems that can be accessed through the detailed study of the element in its larger context. Students will be asked to take position within the given section and associated with specific themes that are at play within the chosen location. This is the beginning of their individual design trajectory.

Backhouse Care by Pieter Jan Debuyst - Sheet5The two semester studio work is divided in several phases in which different relations between design and research are explored. Throughout the course students will work both collectively and individually in order to arrive at personal design proposals, strongly rooted in a collective body of research.

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