Towards a Regenerative Approach to Architecture: A Manifesto
In February 2022, The Cultural Institute of Architecture Wallonia-Brussels (ICA), the Architecture Unit of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, and Wallonia-Brussels Architectures (WBA) launched a joint call for participation for Inventories #4 2020-2023. This first collaboration is now set to continue, as the ICA is currently in charge of piloting the Architectures Wallonie-Bruxelles Inventory # collection.
251 proposals were gathered including built projects, competitions, research, events and actions in urban and rural areas, presented by citizens, architects, landscape architects, artists, urban planners, sociologists and activists from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
An editorial committee was assembled to explore this material, combining expertise in the architectural and publishing professions, with roots in Belgium and abroad. Martina Barcelloni Corte, Oana Bogdan, Christophe Catsaros, Norbert Nelles, Anne Norman and Bernard Wittevrongel began examining this material individually, and then had the opportunity to exchange ideas at various meetings and project visits.
Six recurring themes emerged from their discussions, symptomatic of this 2020-2023 production that also echoes current architectural issues beyond Belgium's borders: the new rurality, frugality in construction methods, governance, re-appropriation, the role of open spaces and, finally, the mutation of architectural practices in line with evolving uses.
After examining the material and discussing it, the committee felt compelled to take a stronger stance. Frustrated by the contrast between, on the one hand, the ingenuity and commitment shown by some project owners and designers and, on the other, the lack of political interest in architecture and town and country planning - particularly in Wallonia - the committee agreed to co-write a manifesto.
This manifesto, titled "Towards a Regenerative Approach to Architecture," proposes 29 points to contribute to a new narrative that aims to regenerate the territory and, consequently, the planet. To this end, it proposes project trajectories as much as claims to open up the perception of a new way of living and transforming our living environment.
Last but not least, it opens the door to wider mobilization in the years to come:
"What if Wallonia showed ambition for its territory? Why shouldn't the regeneration of its territory become exemplary on a European scale, and be able to spread? Momentum seems to have been reached, and the reflections are well underway. Why not embark on this major project together?
- Oana Bogdan
- Martina Barcelloni Corte
- Anne Norman
- Christophe Catsaros
- Bernard Wittevrongel
- Norbert Nelles