500 years ago the book Utopia from Thomas More was published in the university city of Leuven, Belgium. This anniversary is celebrated with different exhibitions, including the architectural one EUTOPIA.
The utopian designs in the exhibition start out from Thomas More’s book. The curators Joeri De Bruyn and Ward Verbakel asked the architectural firms Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, JDS Architects, noAarchitecten and Collectief Camiel Van Noten / Maxime Peeters / Wouter Van der Hallen, as well as the multidisciplinary firm LAb[au] to embody the pressing questions in this historic book in a delicate installation. EUtopia is literally ‘paper architecture’: the installations are made of paper and other light materials.
Utopia, the iconic work by Thomas More, was printed in Leuven 500 years ago. This is being celebrated extensively this autumn, with high-profile exhibitions, a city festival and a unique community project.
In the exhibition Eutopia – The Possibility of an Island, five leading firms question the notion of an architectural utopia. Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, JDS Architects, noAarchitecten, Collectief Camiel Van Noten / Maxime Peeters / Wouter Van der Hallen and LAb[au] each ontribute an intriguing installation in which they continue the quest for utopia.
Thomas More’s book Utopia launched a long tradition of utopian thinking on architecture and society. Although there is no endeavour to create a utopia – the ideal city exists only on paper – it is one of the most effective tools by which to question our society and introduce new ideas. Thomas More set Utopia on an island and that was a deliberate choice. An island is an image for a society that wishes to protect its identity from external influences. EUtopia – The Possibility of an Island raises the question of the critical powers of a utopia and of architecture as a utopian practice. In what way might utopian thinking still be relevant today? Can we still set utopia on an unspoiled island? What would a utopia look like if it kept its doors open to the other and the alien? And should architecture not be a little utopian?
This five-hundred-year-old Utopia contains a number of motifs that are particularly topical today, such as the relationship between borders and identity, the debate on surveillance and privacy in public space, the attractiveness of collectivity, and the expansion of the ideal city. Five teams of leading Belgian architects and artists have worked on these themes to design the imaginary island of EUtopia.
ORGANISER: Stad & Architectuur in collaboration with KU[N]ST Leuven vzw and M – Museum Leuven
CURATORS: Joeri De Bruyn and Ward Verbakel
DESIGNERS: Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, JDS Architects, noAarchitects, Camiel Van Noten, LAb[au]
EXHIBITION DESIGN: plusoffice architects
WHEN: until 17 January 2017
WHERE: M – Museum Leuven | Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28 | 3000 Leuven
OPENING HOURS: Mon-Sun 11:00–18:00 / Thu 11:00 – 22:00 / closed on Wednesday
TICKETS: www.mleuven.be, www.utopialeuven.be
INFO: www.stadenarchitectuur.be, firstname.lastname@example.org