Olivier Eurlings

Olivier Eurlings

The Cabinet - a House for/of Memory. UHasselt (Belgium)

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In “The Cabinet - a House for / of Memory”, the life-collections of (extra)ordinary people as a new source of wonder is the subject of a search for stillness. As our world functions at an ever-increasing pace, architecture invoking contemplation is sought as counter-balance. A collection of archives of many different people, compiled throughout their lives, forms reservoirs of knowledge but equally poses an example of what passion and persistence in life can lead too. The location is in the middle of the Euregio, at the Bassin in Maastricht. In the analogy of the city as a sequence of Urban Rooms, which stems from my thesis, the Bassin is an Urban Room, and the Cabinet completes and further defines this Room.

In order to design an architecture where the Memory can be active, shown and kept, historical research into these three activities was performed, which led to the word ‘cabinet’. The Cabinet as a House of Memory is based upon three typologies which are historically linked to the word ‘cabinet’. The ‘Studiolo’, a small place where the maker can remain active inside his archive, inside his Memory. The ‘Curiosity Cabinet’, where the collection of archives can be shown in a more intimate atmosphere, surrounded by Memories. The ‘Long Gallery’, a space where the archive’s prime pieces can be shown to the public.

Alongside spaces to permanently store collections and the in-between space, these three typologies of spaces form the House of Memory. The spatial concept of the building relies on the Memory as a structural element, the Memory is to carry the building, both figuratively and literally. Through materiality and spatial experience, the House of Memory is to be a place to celebrate and contemplate on the work of people, people as a source of wonder.

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