BOGDAN & VAN BROECK
- BAKALA ACADEMY
BOGDAN & VAN BROECK ARCHITECTS is an office for architecture, urbanism, service design and consultancy, strategically based in Brussels, Europe's capital. In the context of rapid global population growth and ensuing environmental concerns,our design and research output focuses on the creation of quality urban environments, rethinking density and anticipating change through adaptability. Our portfolio covers a wide array of programmes (housing, schools, offices, public and cultural buildings) and scales (from furniture design to 50 000 m2), with a particular interest in strategy development, brownfield regeneration and renovation. Beyond Belgium, we have been active in Romania, Congo, Sweden, Argentina, Estonia and Iceland.
Our office brings together an international group of professionals with backgrounds in architecture, engineering, urbanism, the social sciences and the arts, and regularly seeks partners with expertise in adjacent fields to answer specific questions and deliver custom made design solutions.
Both founding partners engage in education, having taught urbanism, architecture, morphological engineering and building construction at the University of Leuven; and actively participate in the promotion of architectural quality: Oana Bogdan was a member of the Advisory Committee for Architecture and Design of the Flemish Government while Leo Van Broeck has been closely involved in the creation of sensitising organizations such as the Flemish Architecture Institute and the Foundation for City and Architecture in Leuven.
We deliberately choose not to have a typical architectural style but rather a consistent approach. We zoom out, redefine the client's question, allow for incubation time, consider all the alternatives, and constantly re-evaluate what we do. We aim for quality at every scale, accept change and include, alongside space, 'time' as the main context of any given project.
Over the 20th century, the history of architecture has evolved from a 'Beaux Arts' approach to a rational, autonomous, problem solving one. We assert the need to push this approach to the next level, aspiring to an architecture that dares to let go of its autonomy and that is meaningful in today s society.
How to shape human presence on Earth? Earth is not ours, we belong to Earth. An awareness of this ought to have a profound influence on the design of the built environment.
Everything starts with a m² of terrestrial surface, which captures the energy of the most beautiful nuclear reactor we have - the Sun - and transforms it into chlorophyll; feeding plants that, once decayed, became oil; which in turn provides food, warmth, electrical energy; sustaining life and biodiversity. The preservation of untouched square meters is therefore the engine of the planet, the food and energy reservoir of life itself. However, discouraging people from consuming all available land for construction is a message far too unpopular to be told by politicians. Architects and urban designers thus have an increasingly important role to play in reshaping human occupation, favouring compacity and efficiency.
While we all acknowledge that the stress exerted on the environment by the rapidly growing global population is unsustainable, the control of this growth remains a long-term political challenge. In the meantime, we must think of the best, most appealing and most durable solution for minimising the footprint of the existing population. Therefore, we recycle industrial wasteland and fill in urban gaps. We assert that the individual house - even if well insulated and packed with green technology can never be a good ecological solution. We rethink higher densities and aim to show that urban life can provide an attractive alternative. We design environments that allow people to focus on the essence: living in a world with genuine social and spatial quality without consuming huge amounts of surface and without excessive mobility problems. Fundamentally, we believe that the design of dense, high quality urban space can be a catalyst in changing the way people look at their spatial and energy needs.