Belgium in a Clear Line. Brussels
is not Belgium. Anonymous venue of numerous institutions of a European Union that now
counts 25 members, the capital needs to recover its lost urban identity amidst uncountable
office buildings. In contrast, the projects that spring up in the rest of this divided
country where paradoxically the boundaries between city and country have almost
faded shape an image that is very different from that of the Dutch avant-garde
neighbors. The clear line of Hergé, on occasion of the 75th anniversary of
Tintin; serves to trace many of the latest Belgian works.
Dudal, Thiry, Uyttenhove
|Corporate Condition. From the historic
center to the outskirts, these office buildings in Erpe-Mere, Euralille, Nivelles and
Rumbeke range between the desire to blend with a local context and the will to change
Xaveer de Geyter
Coussée y Goris
|Domestic Realm. Symbol both of the national
output and of the character of its inhabitants, the single-family house undergoes numerous
revisions and reeditions, as these of Kortrijk, Mont-Malmédy, Jehanster and Brussels.
|Views and Reviews
||Art / Culture
|Compostela and the Canary Islands. Touristically known for its cultural legacy and their extraordinary landscapes, the City of the Apostle and the Fortunate Islands are rediscovered through the eyes of contemporary artists.||Javier San Martín
Sights of Compostela
Revisting the Canary Islands
|Nonstop Modernity. Through the detailed
review of countless episodes of modern architecture, once forgotten or neglected figures
such as Charlotte Perriand, Ernö Goldfinger and Paul Rudolph acquire clearer profiles.
Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra
|To close, a reflection on how modern inventions such as the cellular telephone or the GPS can replace traditional ones such as the guide or the plan, and the impossibility of establishing a relationship with the computer design programs, whose main restriction is that they deal with the representation of architecture from an eminently graphic point of view.||Products
Furniture (Milan), Doors
Belgium in a Clear Line
Rise and Fall of the Map
Hinge and battlefield of Europe, venue of the common institutions and stage of the struggles for the hegemony of the continent, this country of civil Gothic and military cemeteries, brown beer and gray Eurocrats, is also a cultural artifice that stays up on Flemish painting and French prose, with the surreal touch given by Magritte or Delvaux and the tragic dimension it earns for having known the heart of darkness in Leopolds Congo. Today, though Belgium mints coins on the 75th anniversary of Tintin, this French-speaking and ambiguous heroe is perhaps not so good a national symbol as the Gemini tennis-players the Walloon Justine Henin and the Flemish Kim Clijsters , whose rival hierarchy well expresses the divided pride of a small country.
Tangled up with Spain in a courtier labyrinth of weapons and tapestries that extends from Philip the Handsome to Fabiola, the country that since 1831 is called Belgium started to take shape in a crucible of conflicts that had as main characters the Charles V born in Ghent, the Duke of Alba of the Tercios and the Alejandro Farnesio that, in struggle with William of Orange, created in 1585 a stubbornly persistent political subject. This common path leads to the pointed roofs of El Escorial, brought from Bruges by Philip II and Herrera, and the way the monastery reconciles Italian classicism and Flemish Gothic symbolizes other encounters between the North Sea and the Mediterranean South which flourished in the painting and the arts of the Peninsula.
Exchanges during the 20th century have been more scant, and the architecture of Horta or Van de Velde has had the shallow reception of the philatelic images of the Expo58 Atomium, the resistant anti-modernity of the AAM or the participatory populism of Lucien Kroll. Meanwhile, a new generation of refined cosmopolitan laconicism, forged in domestic works and in the dialogue with art, has reached the maturity of public commissions. We could feign that its succinct language evidences the growing weight of the Calvinist and Republican legacy in its clash with the figurative and monarchist Catholicism; but there is more correspondence with the unanimous time of the world than iconoclastic passion in these architects of blurred identity and clear line.