Joel Claisse, Architect
Brussels 2005
Is architecture possible without a conscious understanding of our environment in general? Why and how shall we build today? What is architecture? And how does what we call architecture differ from construction?

An architecture implies building. However, a building stands in its own right as a materialistic object and at the same time as a reflection of its underlying principles. Beyond the material, beyond the immediate function, and beyond the material form, it is possible to guess the organisational principles which relate to the technical, social and aesthetic context. You can feel the presence of ideas, rules and concepts which are expressed intensely. We are all aware that gravity plays a role in every building. However, those buildings that are able to distribute the spaces more precisely on the supporting foundations let us experience this principle which characterises all the solid bodies that surround us. Our society is engulfed by rules and regulations which are more or less tacit. We are surrounded by buildings which reflect these conventions with wisdom and in such an obvious manner that we can easily understand them. From one building to another, the same materials are able to create a completely different effect by means of different and more calculated structures: from very ancient times, the beauty of numbers, the aesthetic impact of calculation have come together in the form of intelligence. In other words, there is no real boundary between the engineer, the architect and the designer who are destined to collaborate closely in order to obtain a result.

The dream of every architect is that every act of building, public work, conversion or renovation can be referred to as architecture. "Proportions are free", said Le Corbusier. They are the result of a in-depth reflection which integrates all the parameters and all the requirements of a project and these should never discourage us. The result of successful architecture should revitalise us and provide inspiration, provoke a reaction to everyday life and the materialistic aspect, and communicate a feeling of belonging to something and freedom alike. This is how people can come to grips with themselves and become more conscious of their existence throughout their life.

Successful architecture is first the result of an architect meeting with the client of the project: a client who dares accept the challenge, who wants quality, who is patient enough to see his project grow and accepts the risks that may arise from trying something out of the ordinary. In addition, the architect is surrounded by a team of specialists, such as the administrative architects who have nurtured the project and created a favourable context to make it happen. And last but not least, how could architecture exist without the professions who are proud of their work?

The young architects have to evolve in this context without forgetting this approach. Thanks to a bouncing and critical imagination with a perfect control of new technologies, Vincent Callebaut is part of the emerging young generation of architects. I wish he could find sleeping partners having political courage and financial support so that his dreams take shape!

1st part Extract of Belgium New Architecture II
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