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Martine Pollier
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Modular / circular living

Experimental housing, living, construction.
16.03 2023
De Punt - zaal Béatrice

With the support of:

Throughout history, the quest for affordable housing has led to numerous experiments with building methods. Modular construction has had varying degrees of success. Can modular construction offer an answer today? Aurelie De Smet, a researcher in the field of modular building and light construction, frames cases in the long history of experimental building methods for housing. Ruben Braeken speaks from practice and takes us through his research on modular systems with Mosard vzw and B+architecten.

  • Intro
  • Aurelie De Smet (KU Leuven)
  • Speakers
  • Mosard vzw
  • B+ architects

Mosard vzw | Traphallen

Mosard vzw | B+ architects

From his position as an architect, Ruben Braeken, partner of B+architecten, felt the need to coordinate different building systems more intelligently. Together with others, he started Mosard vzw in order to tackle this research systematically. Mosard stands for ‘Modular Open System for ARchitectural Design’ and is an open building standard and the instrument for compatible design and construction. Mosard believes in a world where change-oriented and affordable construction becomes the standard. The basis is a unified sizing system for modular design and construction components, with the aim of making design, construction and (adaptive) living more efficiently compatible. B+ Architects brings the system into practice with their designs. They are a multidisciplinary team of designers that strives for sustainable designs with added value and a positive impact on society and planet. How far can the concept of modular housing lead us?

Dennis De Smet b+ architecten | Sint-Albertus

Dennis De Smet b+ architecten | Sint-Albertus

Mosard vzw |
modular building parts

Aurelie de Smet

Through her implication in the pilot project Mobile Living in Solidarity, Aurelie de Smet has one eye on the practice of modular construction and prefabrication of housing. Researching this led her past several examples in the history of modular construction. She frames the cases in the long history of experimental building methods for housing. Prefab and modular construction boomed during the European reconstruction years after World War II and still has many applications where high speed and low cost are decisive, but it has not yet become mainstream: why is this? And will that change in the future now that the copy/paste function makes modular thinking – or at least drawing – a lot easier?

Ruben Braeken is an architect. He received his master’s degree from Hasselt University in 2006. Heis a passionate researcher of sustainable building methods, with a focus on circular systems. After his internship and a few years at different offices (including Bart Lens architects and Spectrum), he started B+ architects, with exactly this focus. In 2019, he founded Mosard vzw with Johny Verstegen, to create an open space for research on circular building systems. Meanwhile, he is engaged in numerous public roles and is, among other things, a member of the municipal committee on spatial planning (gecoro) for Genk, council member at the Order of Architects for the province of Limburg and target group leader ‘Knowledge and Innovation’ at Netwerk Architecten Vlaanderen (NAV).

Aurelie de Smet graduated as an Urban Planner from Ghent University in 2007, after which she embarked on a diverse career going from practice to academic research. In 2014, she co-founded the knowledge centre tuin+, which focuses on the Flemish and Brussels ‘garden landscape’ at the Landscape and Garden Architecture faculty at the Erasmus Hogeschool Brussels. As a PhD researcher at KU Leuven’s Faculty of Architecture, she worked on the research ‘Solidair Mobiel Wonen’, which not only looks at this form of housing from an academic angle, but also tests the concept in practice via a pilot project and prototyping. Aurelie obtained her PhD in 2022, since then she has been working as a researcher for KU Leuven.