Laboratory of the future
BDR bureau & Carton123 architecten are invited to the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Lesley Lokko. At the Arsenale’s main exhibition ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, they present the project ‘Kappaert’, a school campus located in Zwevegem, Belgium. Kappaert forms an ensemble where several activities interact : a primary school for children on the autism spectrum, part- time arts education and holiday activities. The project deals with the ambiguity of defining and dissolving boundaries, while creating safe spaces for children with different minds.
Scenography (curtains, models, drawings, mock-up)
A system of interconnected ‘landscape rooms’ organizes the layout of the campus, giving it visual coherence. Within this landscape, the new architectural interventions act as visual anchor points, children use them as reference points on their daily journey. In a similar way, curtain silhouettes of the three main buildings act as anchoring points in the Arsenale. The ambiguous approach towards boundaries will be translated into built form in the future campus, at various scales. It is presented through different media in the layout of the exhibition.
On an intermediate scale, models presented on a long table envision the borders or thresholds children on the autism spectrum have to cross, on an daily basis. Often, a simple line can be perceived as an insurmountable boundary and needs a proper ‘width’ to make the transition less brutal. The mock-up, scale 1:1, shows how the line between corridor and classroom can be expanded into a welcoming zone, a calm retreat space that allows for decompression. The line becomes a broader boundary. Rather than present all these fragments as static representations of architectural intent, visitors are invited to imagine how the spaces can be appropriated, how the children will feel at home. Hand drawings play an important role in this process.
The exhibition highlights that Kappaert is a close collaboration between the school community, architects and engineers, and Research[x]Design, a multidisciplinary research group at the KU Leuven that studies the way spaces are experienced from different perspectives. The collaborative process between the architects - with workshops on-site and long-distance communication - is displayed. Also the conversations with the future users of the campus are shown. They are essential, to fully understand the relationship between spatial design and the impact on mental stimuli.
BDR bureau (Alberto Bottero, Simona Della Rocca)
team: Alina Salahoru, Morena Gagliardi, Silvia Adamuccio, Rossella Altobelli
Carton123 (Els Van Meerbeek, Joost Raes)
team: Jordy Van Osselaer, Sara De Sterck, Pauline Vermeulen, Dorien Pelst
KU Leuven Research [x] Design - inclusive design expertise (Ann Heylighen & team)
Joost Emmerik - landscape design