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Reminder: Alumni Day 2018

Happy Easter! We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend with their friends & family! With just a month to go we are getting very excited for the Alumniday and hope […]

Invitation Alumni Day 2018

Dear Alumni and (former) Explore Lab tutors, We would like to officially invite you to Alumni Day 2018! In order to organise the alumniday, a contribution of €12,50 from each […]

Announcement: Alumni day 2018

This year is a very special year for ExploreLab as we are celebrating our 25th group of explorers. This shouldn’t go by unnoticed! We would like to invite you to […]

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Norms and Bodies: Exploring the Architectural Body

Norms and Bodies: Exploring the Architectural Body

Veerle Alkemade

Bodies and their surroundings are continuously changing and inseparably intertwined, making it impossible to explore the two independently. This means that our bodies do not simply end at our skin, unlike architectural notions such as the Modulor by Le Corbusier suggest. As professor Hélène Frichot puts it: “there is some sort of a thinking feeling body and there is an atmospheric sack of something that surrounds this body”.

Architecture can be regarded as a mediator between bodies and their surroundings and as a practice which strives to empower the bodies who interact with it. However, if we note that our bodies are dynamic and thus not so easily defined (if definable at all), how do we design?

Basing architectural designs on diagrams such as those made by Ernst Neufert, standardises and simplifies the complex relations that bodies and surroundings can have, and results in normative and repressive situations. How do we make sure that architecture doesn’t restrain or limit, but actually empowers bodies to act in their surroundings?

This research attempts to discover ways of designing which take into account the dynamic qualities of bodies and their surroundings, as an alternative to a normative design approach.

Unbias intervention policies on former detached-wards psychiatric hospitals

Unbias intervention policies on former detached-wards psychiatric hospitals

Andrea Fusaro

The great reformation of the mental healthcare system in Europe left behind a great number of architectural relics. Being built straddling between the XIX and the XX century in the outskirts of their cities, the detached-wards psychiatric hospitals got swallowed up by the urban fabric after post-World War 2 the economic growth, and are now enclosed cities in the cities. Of course the social, cultural and historical legacy of these places together with their out-of-scale size don’t help in any intervention scenario. Four decades were not enough to give a new life to the many complexes, and the few realized projects show that the current approach can’t be in any way effective nor sustainable.

Starting with an investigation on how these complexes could endure the many crises of their long lifespan, this project wants to determine from an unbiased perspective a new common practice of intervention for these forgotten realities. The outcomes will be used pioneeringly as a direct input to determine a new managerial, social and architectural program, that will then feed the design of an exemplary case study used as a showcase for this unexplored approach.

A population in rehab

A population in rehab

Maurits van Ardenne

We are unable to anticipate a threat coming from within our developed societies. The ongoing technological progress is slowly paralysing our population.

The speed of modern-day life affects our mental health. Our brains are no longer able to cope with the overexposure we receive on a daily basis from our built environment. And since technological progress increases exponentially, the quantity of urban stressors will only intensify more. We will experience an increase of mental fatigue while being on our daily routine. Eventually, our impairment on mental health will affect our physical health by weakening our resistance.

The documentary ‘A Swedish Theory of Love’ shows how more and more people withdraw from society and isolate themselves. Depressions (about 30% of the population), burn-outs and non-involvement seem to become a new social norm. We clearly need to adapt our living environment to avoid further mental paralysis of our population.

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