The theme of the second Festival of architecture (F/a) in 2019 in Ghent is: Connect the city!
Many cities suffer from a chronic lack of space and a shortage of green. Villages and rural centers often have that space, but struggle with a lack of infrastructure or a lack of facilities in the immediate vicinity, while additional development is not desirable. Today, more than ever, we crave extra living, working and living space, but the available space has run out. Making more use of less space is a precarious task. The densification of the living environment clashes with resistance, both in neighborhoods with strong urban dynamics, and in quiet living environments. For residents, compaction seems to be a story of loss in the first instance. We have to do it with less. Fewer available and therefore more expensive homes, less simple relocations, less personal use of facilities because you have to share them with others, less green space, etc. How do we get more out of less space and without compromising on quality?
We face the express challenge of compacting the built-up fabric. That means – in urban jargon – stacking, switching, interweaving, mixing or sharing. These are all smart ways to get more return from the available space. Smart buildings combine various programs and fulfill multiple functions. We can also share with the neighbors, but also with the neighborhood and the neighborhood. Designers and users must make smart connections between people, between user groups and functions in a building, and connections between neighborhoods that can offer each other something. It is not just a story of builders, designers or city services. Because more and more people are choosing to help shape their living environment. That too is connecting. People make the city and we embrace that movement at the Festival of architecture. The assignment that we face together does not have to be about competition for space. It offers opportunities for a strong mobilizing perspective. The future is an opportunity to build, use, live and share.
Connect the city! Connect neighborhoods, buildings, functions and people. Start with yourself or join forces and contribute to a healthier environment and a more attractive space.
The entire Ghent educational landscape is an important lever for creating social support for the debate on spatial design. Ghent is home to two highly regarded architecture courses and therefore has great research and design potential. To build bridges between academic research and practice, the city architect wants to encourage and draw attention to (design) research and to challenge design forces to innovate on socially relevant themes. That is why the city architect takes the initiative during the F / a together with KU Leuven, Faculty of Architecture Campus Sint-Lucas, UGent, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich and the Archipel vzw architecture association to make strong student work in which Ghent forms the work field.
The student designs show interventions in a city that are far from the daily concrete practice, but that do exploratively respond to the tasks and opportunities that the city can offer. The selected projects show Ghent (all designs focus on sites or assignments in Ghent) from an explicitly different perspective.