Expression of Architecture
by Pierre Loze and Joel Claisse
We would like to declare our optimism: architecture is an expression of human life and liberty. Beyond people's immediate needs, it signifies the ideals that pervade their lives, expressing their quest for beauty, harmony and perfection, reflecting the energy, inspiration, invention, and creativity that enliven a country.
If we overlook for a moment the numerous sordid constructions, with no intellectual basis, lacking spirit or beauty, purely material and even materialist, that mobilize the energy and resources of people who build anything, anyhow, there is in Belgium architecture worthy of the name, respectful of people, and capable of integrating itself into the historical context.
But beyond such merit, we also need to ask questions about the growing scale of this construction devoid of all quality, not only in its form but also from a technical standpoint, created by some of our colleagues and financial players, guided solely by considerations of profit.
Quality Displaced by Profitability
The vast majority of the buildings erected in the three regions of Belgium are not the fruit of a human-scale enterprise by a family, a company, or a group of people, who therefore hold dear their project, but the sad result of a primary mercantile response to people's immediate needs.
This results in the appearance of buildings put up with no concern for the sustainability of the environment, using out-of-date techniques, based on short-term ideas with an eye to a quick return, ruled by a market that makes thoughtful or forward-looking architecture undesirable.
This article is excerpted from Belgium New Architecture by editors Pierre Loze, Joel Claisse, Liliane Knopes, Geraldine Claisse, Francoise Dupont, and Charlotte Brunko, with permission of the publisher, Prisme Editions, Inc. >>>
Quadrat Medical Software's new office building, by Corbeel + Catteeuw + Platteau Architecten, is winner of the Euro-Belgian Architectural Awards 2001.
Photo: Marc DeTiffe
The projecting head represents the forward-facing facade of the building and marks the entrance like an awning.
Photo: Marc DeTiffe
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