DESSA GALLERY
Architectural center
Židovska steza 4
SI-1000 Ljubljana
 
T +386 1 25 16 010
E galerija@dessa.si
 
OPEN
Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri: 12:00-18:00
Sat, Sun, Mon, Holidays: closed


PHOTOGALLERY

Water Tower, Ghlin, Belgium, 2017, photo: Maxime Delvaux



SEVEN CONDITIONS FOR GOOD ARCHITECTURE
An unpretentious exhibition
12. 9. - 3. 11. 2022

We kindly invite you to the opening of the exhibition Seven conditions for good architecture, which will be held on Monday, September 12, 2022, at 8 pm in the DESSA Gallery. The exhibition will be open until November 3rd, 2022.

 

This exhibition is concise and simple. It presents seven conditions for a good architecture. These conditions are illustrated by projects of bureau V+. None of these projects meets them all. They are a demonstration of a work in progress.

 

The seven conditions are also seven concerns.

Concerns that could nourish the discipline of architecture?

Concerns that must nourish the discipline of architecture?

Manifests often turn bad, let’s rather call them pieces of friendly advice.

 

 

Office V+ from Brussels is an important contributor to the contemporary Belgian architectural scene. Their work is based on a critical attitude towards public space and programme. In their projects, they emphasise the significance of symbolic, cultural, and social values while at the same time re-evaluating new spatial and technical solutions. In this way, the remit of their activity extends beyond the expected.

The office's full name is Vers plus de bien-être ("towards a greater well-being") (1). It was founded in 2004 by partners Thierry Decuypere and Jörn Aram Bihain. Their work represents a relentless pursuit of distinctive expression. They address the public by means of projects, lectures, exhibitions, installations, and performances, both within the architectural discipline as well as in urban activist networks and artistic circles.

Decuypere's and Bihain's complementary collaboration was established already during the open competition for which they sought an alternative proposal for the re-evaluation of a crossing between the south and north Brussels (railway) station. The work extended into a year-long project and concluded with exhibition (1998–1999). "The name of our office contains its fundamentals, beliefs and its philosophy […] Our name originates from the projects 1954 inaugural slogan 'the junction of south/north towards a greater well-being' because for us, with such a slogan, everything remains to be done."

Both architects are active members of the Brussels and Belgian, as well as international architectural culture. Office V+ has been the recipient of various prizes, including the 2017 Mies Van der Rohe Emerging Architecture prize.

 

*

 

Belgian architecture is subject to a complicated and multi-layered context. Beside construction economics, each individual project's ambition, urban regulation, and the slow but persistent gentrification of Brussels, it further includes a very referential, distinctive architectural heritage of brick terraced houses, industrial complexes, intertwined and cacophonous city blocks, patios, and ultimately the important tradition of surrealism. Such a space is no place for self-referential architecture; architecture “depends" (3) on the context and all its individual factors. The architectural practice of office V+ occupies a special place precisely due to its flexible and indeterminate approach, which characterises their projects.

In projects running the gamut between zero to several tens of thousands square metres of area space, and between zero and several tens of millions' worth of investment, office V+ endeavours to retain, emphasise and leverage the context's multiple layers, which seem at first glance to inhibit a project's development possibilities. In this way, the beginning of each project is a "naive" but effective position of being indeterminate without prior ideas and objectives.

Such "undisciplined", non-hierarchical re-examination and exploration of the context enables the awareness of the bigger picture, which gives rise to unexpected questions and aspects. Each project underscores new questions and explores a new topic. As a result, each project is markedly different from all the others - they serve as a constant reminder that in architecture, one set of requirements must not drown out the others. "We remain reticent about a form of radical heroism, preferring to run the risk of being too complex." (4)

 

*

 

The office's architectural principles materialise through the complexity brought forth by the demands of "good architecture". Their being indeterminate, "undisciplined", and disinclined towards the conventional is frequently conducive to displacements, either physical or conceptual, or to modifying the expectations of the discipline and the parties involved. The multitude of non-hierarchical properties characteristic of each respective context results in architecture which is "less powerful but better adapted". (5)

Their projects are an expression of the efficiency of complex architecture which cannot be evaluated merely as technological, engineering, or economical architecture. It derives from the concern that any architectural gesture must ensure an improvement of the context and figure as an expression of the desire to create narrativity through a playful construction of space. Their projects embody "an emancipatory, multi-dimensional and relational architecture, which generates intensity, pleasure, and even humour." (6) 

 

*

 

Jörn Aram Bihain (1973, Brussels) graduated in 1996 from the faculty of architecture at Saint-Luc, Brussels. Before forming office V+, he collaborated with Wolfgang Tschapeller and Henke Schreiheck in Vienna. From 2007, he teaches at the faculty of architecture at Saint-Luc Liège.

Thierry Decuypere (1973, Brussels) graduated in 1996 from Faculty of Architecture La Cambre Horta. Before forming office V+, he collaborated with Olivier Bastin (studio L’Escaut). From 2003, he teaches at Faculty of Architecture La Cambre Horta in Brussels.

 

Vlatka Ljubanović, Tina Javornik

 

  

1 

prosperity: abundance of material goods

In this case, we are talking about well-being of a wider, general meaning, not only material; we are talking about well-being, well-being.

 

2

The name of our office contains its fundamentals, beliefs and its philosophy (…) Our name originates from the projects 1954 inaugural slogan “the junction of south/north towards a greater well-being” because for us, with such a slogan, everything remains to be done.”

 

Own description of the office, available at the web address: https://www.vplus.org/pages/about, quoted 26. 8. 2022

 

3

“architecture depends”

 

Chabard, P., Dars, S., Menon C. (2015). V+ architecture: documents on five projects. Bruselj: Bozar, A+, Lannoo, page 11

Thill, J. (2009). Architecture depends. Cambridge, MA: MIT

 

4

“We remain reticent about a form of radical heroism, preferring to run the risk of being too complex.” 

 

Chabard, P., Dars, S., Menon C. (2015). V+ architecture: documents on five projects. Bruselj: Bozar, A+, Lannoo, page 152

 

5

“less powerful but better adapted”

 

Chabard, P., Dars, S., Menon C. (2015). V+ architecture: documents on five projects. Bruselj: Bozar, A+, Lannoo, page 11

 

6

» (...) une architecture émancipatrice, multidimensionnelle et relationnelle, génératrice d’intensité, de plaisir, voire d’humour.«

 

Chabard, P. (2015). V+ (Bureau Vers plus de bien-être) : l’architecture en jeu. [Online]. [Quoted 26. 8. 2022]. Available at the web address: https://www.darchitectures.com/bureau-vers-plus-de-bien-etre-architecture-en-jeu-a2787.html, article originally published in the journal D’Architectures, no. 241 (2015)

 

 

 

Organizer

Galerija DESSA

Židovska steza 4, Ljubljana

 

Exhibition design

Thierry Decuypere, Louis Magerman

 

Curators

Vlatka Ljubanović, Tina Javornik

 

Collaborator

Vesna Perovnik

 

Translator

Sašo Podobnik

 

Panels printing

Prima IP

 

Design and printing of depliants

Matformat

 

Sponsors

Ministrstvo za kulturo RS, UL Faulteta za arhitekturo

 

In media

https://wbarchitectures.be/en/actualites/Expo-V--a-Ljubljana-/1176/

SEVEN CONDITIONS FOR GOOD ARCHITECTURE
An unpretentious exhibition
12. 9. - 3. 11. 2022

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DESSA GALLERY
Architectural center
Židovska steza 4
SI-1000 Ljubljana
 
T +386 1 25 16 010
E galerija@dessa.si
 
OPEN
Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri: 12:00-18:00
Sat, Sun, Mon, Holidays: closed


PHOTOGALLERY



Program is supported by
e_news

By entering my email address, I agree to receive e-invitations and information about the events of the Dessa Gallery and confirm that I am aware of personal data protection policy.