RE[ ]CHURCH explores how architectural design can raise the potential of built heritage as a resource for spatial, cultural and social development. In particular, we seek to conceive more innovative ways of managing the increasing number of redundant religious sites and the problem of their future use. RE[ ]CHURCH revolves around two questions: 1) What are the characteristics of (built) heritage that make it a potential resource for future development? 2) How can architectural design help to ‘unlock’ this potential? The novelty of this project lies in the fact that it is the first systematic exploration of its kind in Flanders. Also its approach is innovative for the problem of church redundancy is seen from a design perspective and not as a real estate or governance issue. In terms of method, the project relies on an unusual combination of two emerging fields within the architectural discipline, namely the new paradigm of ‘research by design’ and the emergent field of adaptive reuse. As the research will be conducted to a large extent in parallel with an advanced master’s studio at the Faculty of Architecture of the KU Leuven, RE[ ]CHURCH will also contribute to, and benefit from the interchange between education and research.
Supervision: Sven Sterken and Roel de Ridder