Fall Semester 2017

NATO’S NEW NEIGHBORS

The ongoing segregation of housing, industry, service economy and (public) transport remains one of the most pressing metropolitan matters at hand. This incremental tendency causes undesirable spatial sprawl as well as an untenable pressure on public funding. Hence, socio-economic cohabitation remains a prime concern for contemporary metropolitan policies.

Our site is located in the northern outskirts of Brussels. The Bordet Crossing presents itself as a no-man’s land flanked with big boxes, suburban housing and “pastoral” business parks. Perhaps the most exceptional player within this generic field is the new NATO headquarters, a gargantuan compound overthrowing any ruling theory of spatial integration.

Brussels is planning to fundamentally redevelop Bordet Crossing, offering a serious potential for devising architectural concepts of socio-economic cohabitation and peripheral densification. How can NATO’s near-future neighbors start to produce actual metropolitan life? One thing we know for sure: NATO won’t be pulling off this challenge.

Our architectural leitmotiv revolves around multi-tenant infrastructures, merging i.a. collective housing, manufacturing industry and multimodal transit. What to learn from collective models such as Dom-Komuna, Phalanstère, Rotterdam Groothandelsgebouw, Chicago Merchandise Mart or even the Zürich Kalkbreite development? And how to eventually surpass them?

From week 1 onwards we will actively join forces with the Brussels Baumeister, who supervises the quality of architecture and city development projects in Brussels. Being an independent advisor to the Brussels’ Government he subsequently holds a key position as “policy whisperer”. In the end all our architectural projects will be synthesized into an inspirational green paper co-produced with the Brussels Baumeister Team.

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