Jan Bloemen

Jan Bloemen

Curiocity. . PHL Diepenbeek (Belgium)

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This final project tries to be my own answer to the question: ‘How do we as architects make ‘places’ for a society that becomes more and more ‘placeless’? The city of Genk fits this question perfectly.

Genk was founded in 1901 and is formed to be the only Belgian city shaped like an american metropole. This may explain why the citizens are more vulnerable to this post-modern form of ‘placelessness’ than the inhabitants of other cities. Genk is a city made of small ‘highways’, crossing each other and forming internal islands of different functions. The problem with this post-modern now/here, nowhere society is that we try to out smarten time. The result of this postmodern-network hive is that we are leaving the concept of the word ‘context ‘behind and that we only need points in space to live. ‘non-places’ like airports, gasstations,etc . will only remain in our non-place urban realm.

I conclude that what we begin to lack is ‘oriëntation’. As human beings we need to orientate ourselves. Who are we, where do we come from, who are the others? But how do we orientate? How to reverse the process? One simple answer: by WALKING!! It is the simple art of walking that gives us the time to look, to see, to investigate and to discover. We have to take time to walk, take time to be curious. It is a simple matter of perception, and the rate of it. So the project I designed had to be very walkable, so that people can explore and be curious.

Thus I made a ‘path’, not a straight line like a highway, but one that makes it easy to explore all the different places and spaces. A path that also leads to a somewhat higher orientationpoint so that people can overview the city and see where they come from.

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