Flemish architecture, a creative collaboration
It is not every day that the British press sings the praises of Belgium, more specifically Flemish public architecture. The Guardian is literally showering the new Flemish public buildings with praise.
According to the journalist, the strength and diversity of the new Flemish public architecture lie in the way in which the projects were implemented. There were no international competitions or public procurement contracts reserved for Belgian architects, but rather an open, targeted and paid call.
Projects are announced twice a year. They are for museums, hospitals, offices and even schools. Architects submit a declaration of intent and examples of what they have already created. The 'Vlaamse Bouwmeester’ team makes an initial selection that comprises companies that are both small and large, local and international, and new and experienced.
The client then chooses five candidates, which meet on the site to discuss the project and develop a design. This is real collaboration, a creative project in which each party contributes their ideas and experiences. After this, the client selects the company with which it wants to create the project.
British architects were therefore able to give free rein to their creativity and design surprising buildings such as the library in Blankenberge by Sergison Bates Architects, to mention just one.
We should also note the "diamond" sitting on top of the Port of Antwerp building (Zaha Hadid) and the "steel nest" at De Krook library in Ghent, built by Coussée & Goris Architecten and RCR Arquitectes.
This collaborative process is driving creative architecture!