Call for Applications: Real Estate Architecture #2, Reclaiming the Office Building

The international Summer School will take place in Brussels from from August 26th to September 2nd. Forty students and recently graduated architects will be invited to rethink the future of the office buildings, products of the real estate boom of the 1960s. Participants will be led by four talented architects: Piovenefabi (Milan), Gafpa (Ghent), Something Fantastic (Berlin) and Dyvik Kahlen (London).

Real Estate Architecture explores the legacy of architectures built by private developers during the 1960s and 1970s. Through workshops and lectures, publications and exhibitions, it aims at revealing the transformation potentials of these ubiquitous developments. Rooted in the contexts of three different Belgian cities, the research project will reconsider three specific architecture typologies: the apartment building, the office building and the retail building.

From 1958 onward, Brussels began to profile itself as an important administrative center: first with the arrival of European institutions and second with the evolution of the Belgian state into a multilayered power structure. As the service sector was expanding, public authorities sought to create a modern business district around the North Station. Following a tabula rasa approach, they planned to expropriate the old residential fabric of the North Quarter and to replace it with a new typology: the high-rise office building.

In this context, Charles De Pauw, a self-made developer, was asked to relocate his project for the Belgian World Trade Center in the North Quarter, as an iconic start for the redevelopment of the 53ha clean site. Built in an era of euphoric confidence in technical progress and unlimited growth, the World Trade Center was meant to host 50.000 white-collar workers and concentrate the most modern communication means in its 4 towers. A real revolution for globalized work. Completed in 1973, the WTC never reached its ambitious goal to attract international institutions and companies and remained largely empty. For more than a decade the WTC was standing alone on the vast vacant site and became the symbol of ill-fated real estate projects. It took another 10 years before the North Quarter was fully developed as a proper business district.

Nowadays the shadow of vacancy is again hovering over the neighbourhood. Several important public administrations are planning to leave the area and no one knows who could replace them. Business as usual is no longer working. We believe the time is ripe, to reconsider the office building typology in Brussels, to speculate about its future and to envision its contemporary form. The summer school will take the WTC as an exemplary building to redevelop, and will explore the potential of architectural interventions to redefine its condition and its relationship with the neighbourhood.

The summer school will take place from August 26th to September 2nd 2017 in the North Quarter of Brussels, Belgium. It consists in an intensive workshop combined with a public evening program: screenings, lectures and debates. About 40 international students and recently graduated architects will work on the future of the emblematic World Trade Center in Brussels. The participants will collaborate in teams of 10 under the supervision of one of the 4 tutors: Piovenefabi, Gafpa, Dyvik Kahlen and Something Fantastic. They will investigate how architectural interventions could release potential strategies for the renewal of monofunctional office buildings. At the end of the week, the results will be discussed with a panel of architects, urban designers, academics and public authorities. They will later be compiled in a publication and presented in a public exhibition.

The summer school is open to students in architecture and urban design and recently graduated architects. Up to 40 participants will be selected based on the submission of a succinct portfolio. Application should contain a presentation of your work and a curriculum vitae. Proficiency in English is required. Please send a single pdf file named “name_surname.pdf” to:

Application deadline: 5th of June 2017. Tuition fee for the summer school: 200€.

Download the information related to this competition here.

  • Title

    Call for Applications: Real Estate Architecture #2, Reclaiming the Office Building
  • Type

    Call for Submissions
  • Website

  • Organizers

    Real Estate Architecture
  • Submission Deadline

    June 05, 2017 12:00 PM
  • Venue

    World Trade Center Brussels
  • Price


This call for submissions was submitted by an ArchDaily user. If you'd like to submit a competition, call for submissions or other architectural 'opportunity' please use our "Submit a Call for Submissions" form. The views expressed in announcements submitted by ArchDaily users do not necessarily reflect the views of ArchDaily.

Cite: "Call for Applications: Real Estate Architecture #2, Reclaiming the Office Building " 26 Apr 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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