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A Just Place:
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A Place of Our Own in Brussels is a placemaking activity cycle, placemaking site and student workshops initiated by KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture. This is the first year activity cycle for A Just Place 3 learning cycle series.

A Just Place is a civic learning forum with and within a community of NGOs, citizens, artists, researchers and governmental actors for the co-transformation of an all-male homeless shelter in Brussels. 

  At first glance, Bodegem Foyer seems like an average shelter, just one of many shelters run by the Salvation Army, an international charitable organization that provides aid in many social sectors. Still, Foyer Bodeghem has grown to become more than four walls and a meal for those that reside in it. The shelter provides basic needs such as; accommodation, meals, social, psychosocial, and medical support to help homeless reintegrate into society, but more recently, through the collaboration of an educational partner, the new dynamics of a group of architecture students have transformed the shelter into a learning place. 

A Place of Our Own in Brussels, aims to facilitate communication in support of a bottom-up spatial design and production currently in the "making" by a consortium of activist architects, architecture students, social workers, and shelter residents. In this cycle the A-place academic partner works closely with students and residents to help them engage in the current spatial transformation of the shelter. The project has brought awareness to “housing as a right”, serving as one of the proactive cases embedded in the peculiarities of the Brussels urban context, an alternative rebellious city that harbors numerous solidarity network practices, diverse in culture, and with an expansive universe of spatial activism responding to socio-spatial injustice(s).

 

Activities

We aim to create an inclusive network of diverse co-creators and knowledge exchangers by inviting students, shelter residents, neighbours and activists to participate in the transformation of the shelter through the following activities: 

A Place of Our Own: Up-cycled Furniture Workshop: A skill building workshop with the aim to refurbish and up-cycle the material within the building and turn it into new furniture. Therefore, creating a more hospitable environment on the ground floor of the shelter for the residents.

A Place of Our Own and A Seedling Place: A joint event with A-Place partners, Urban Gorillas, to invite the residents of the shelter to plant seeds into vases and place them in unexpected places within the building as an act of care and collective beatification of the spaces.

A Place of Our Own: Open Mural: A participatory event where the students organise to paint a mural to tell the story of the shelter and invite the residents to connect by imprinting their personal stories as a visual into a common wall.

A Place of Our Own: Exhibition and Talks: An open event in collaboration with local cultural associations, for the neighbourhood and larger public to connect with “A Place of Our Own” and join the exhibition of the outcomes of the past placemaking events, and a discussion moment over themes of homelessness, and housing as a right in Brussels. 

 

Objectives

A Just Place is a civic learning space that will offer an opportunity for the citizens and students to discuss the meanings of place which the artistic-architectural installations aim to reveal. Designers, artists, sociologists and DIY makers will participate in these discussions. These learning places will become educational experimentation embedded in the community with the aim of facilitating the sharing of knowledge across realms.  

A Place of Our Own, cycle one of a series of action cycles, promotes knowledge exchanges on the meaning and difference between “home” and “place” in relation to the artistic installations created by the student-artists, artists and designers. KU Leuven's Architecture master elective course “Altering Practices for Urban Inclusion” is interwoven into the above placemaking activities. Some tasks such as site and social analysis,spatial and visual representation of the architectural transformation case were integrated into the programme of the course. This learning place will be based on social inclusiveness, in this regard particular importance has been given to opening up the activities to homeless people with the help of the Salvation Army. Learning activities include classes which encourage students to  work with the project architects, accompanied by a programme of performances, discussions and exhibitions, which together will lead to a collective reflection on the sense of place.  

Other files:

Links

Contact

Contact person: 

Rosaura Romero

+32 048 353 1488

Participants

The activities will be carried out with the participation of: 

Social organizations: 

Salvation Army 

Cultural organizations: 

Bozar’s Next Generation Please! : My Space My Life 

DIY Makers: 

Les débris-colleurs asbl 

Architecture students: 

Master elective course of the KU Leuven Architecture Faculty in Brussels 

Architecture faculty: 

Faculty from KU Leuven Architecture Master program 

(Professor Burak Pak and Doctoral student Rosaura Romero) 

Throughout the implementation of the process, other social groups (e.g. neighbours associations,  religious groups) and local stakeholders (e.g. pupils and teachers from local schools), are expected to join the activities.