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Architectural Criticism: for everyone?

Architecture criticism in Flanders since Geert Bekaert.
21.02 2017
Bibliotheek vakgroep Architectuur en Stedenbouw

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“Geert Bekaert learned Flanders watch architecture. The critic and teacher died at the age of 88. In more than a thousand drawing he defended architecture as a matter of common sense.” As a form of homage we see in February the role of architectural criticism in the current architectural climate.

At the death of Geert Bekaert in September 2016, journalist Geert Van Der Speeten wrote in De Standaard:
“Geert Bekaert taught Flanders to look at architecture. The critic and teacher died at the age of 88. In more than a thousand drafting he defended architecture as a matter of common sense.”
As a form of homage and within the theme, poetry of everyday life, in February we look at the role of architectural criticism in the current architectural climate.

Geert Bekaert (1928-2016) was the basis of a broader view on architecture in Flanders since the 1960s. He has given critical architecture a public role by making this multimedia accessible through magazines, video, books, TV edm. What legacy did he leave behind?
Christophe van Gerrewey, versatile essayist and architecture critic, wrote a doctorate on Geert Bekaert and is a privileged witness. He gives a historical introduction, a homage.

Is there still comparable architectural criticism today? Texts, images and opinions about architecture can be seen everywhere. Websites, blogs, platforms and interest groups constantly ventilate their ideas and controversies regarding the built environment. Professionals and amateurs generate an unremitting flow of information about projects and buildings.
Lara Schrijver, teacher of architecture criticism, takes us through the developments of the last decades.

Is architecture criticism still accessible to everyone?
Dirk Demeyer is our host.

The library machine

This evening takes place in the beautifully designed library from the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ugent. The Faculty Library is the transformation of the nineteenth-century laboratory of physics. The library has been designed by Office Kersten Geers and David Van Severen. The design won the Belgian Award for Architecture in 2015, small intervention category. After closing time, the library can be transformed into a lecture room.

20,641 books

Geert Bekaert is donating his collection of 20,641 books on architecture to Ugent, and they are now in this brand new library machine. The perfect symbolic place for our homage and reading, we found …
The words of Geert Bekaert:
“It is nice to be able to discover a book, an unknown book that no one knows about, somewhere hidden in the shelves of a library or lost in the display window of a bookstore, a book that is not sought, that suddenly for you. state and on which you fall in love. They want it, God knows why, they want to read, know, keep it, store it as a store for dry seasons. These moments of delight are rare. “_

Architecture, a manual.

Theory, criticism and history since 1950 according to Geert Bekaert. Author Christophe Van Gerrewey.
A&S/books, 2015, 22 × 16, 295p. Ill. bl/w ISBN: 9789076714448 price: 34€

This book, a reworking of a doctoral thesis, is the very first thorough study of Geert Bekaert’s writings, his approach and themes. Due to Bekaert’s wide interest and method, and through the focused thematic analysis of Van Gerrewey, it offers at the same time an overview of the debates and subjects within Belgian, Dutch and European architectural culture since 1950. Van Gerrewey has drawn up a succession of six themes: religion, housing, society, history, city and culture. These topics are discussed on the basis of the texts of Bekaert, and on the basis of the work of domestic and foreign architects that it was the subject of. With illustrations from Bekaert’s diacollection and a selected bibliography of his publications.

0. Spiritual exercises: A reading and writing guide.
1. Architecture & religion: New ideas about modern construction
2. Architecture & Living: The sacred is the everyday
3. Architecture & society: Cum finierit, tunc incipiet
4. Architecture & history: Arm past!
5. Architecture & City: I love the age in which I was born.
6. Architecture & Culture: Architecture is FUN