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Martine Pollier
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Robbrecht & Daem

Robbrecht & Daem is an Belgain architects-office founded in 1975 in Ghent.

Paul Robbrecht (°Sleidinge, October 28, 1950) graduated from the Higher Institute of Architecture Sint-Lucas (1969-1974), he did an internship with Marc Dessauvage. He taught at the Ghent Academy (1978-92), St. Lucas Ghent and the AA School in London.

Hilde Daem (°Haaltert, December 12, 1950) studied at the Academy of Ghent (1970-1975). she did an internship at Francis Serck.

Robbrecht and Daem had great interest in the development of art and its possible influence on architecture. They found in their practice a way out of the crisis architecture of the 1970s through a revaluation of architecture as an autonomous discipline. Robbrecht and Daem were inspired not only by this contemporary art but also by the classical architectural tradition. After the Rome Prize (1979) and the Godecharle (1980) have achieved, Robbrecht made a study trip through Italy, where he immersed himself in the Renaissance and became a member of the Centro Palladio.

The earliest work of Robbrecht and Daem shows a return to the classic basic components of the architecture. Their first notable work was a bank building in Kerksken at Aalst (1988) surrounded a pure white prism with a double high concrete porch. Their interest in the Renaissance is also reflected in the collaboration with visual artists such as in the home Mys in Oudenaarde. The different rooms have been modeled over a ten year period in collaboration with artists such as Thierry de Cordier, Juan Muñoz and Cristina Iglesias. After this experience they developed exhibition projects with various artists. They put themselves in addition to the examination of the possible relationships between architecture and art, as in 1989, with Marie-José Van Hee in the Brussels gallery Hufkens, the Aue Pavilions at Documenta IX in Kassel (1990-92) and the rebuilding of the Katoennatie in Antwerp (1994 and 2000). Their main works include the expansion of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (1996-2003) and the Concertgebouw in Bruges (1999-2002). In 1997 they realized the Canal Houses on the Coupure in Ghent, an ensemble of two buildings that are adapted to the surrounding 19th-century mansions.

In 1997 Robbrecht and Daem were the Flemish Culture Prize for Architecture (along with Marie-José Van Hee).