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brussels north district: the office tower

A project commissioned by Real Estate Architecture, it explores the legacy of architectures built by private developers during the 1960s and 1970s. Through workshops and lectures, publications and exhibitions, it aims to reveal the transformation potentials of these ubiquitous developments. Rooted in the contexts of three different Belgian cities, the research project reconsiders three specific architecture typologies: the apartment building, the office tower and the commercial centre.

In the framework of their 2017 summer school: the office tower, I photographed the Brussels North District from the street, while Antoine Espinasseau photographed inside current or defunct offices. During the summer school the photographs were exhibited in a joint exhibition on the first level of the WTC Tower 1 building in Brussels.

private - public

The atmosphere in the streets becomes more and more toxic for photographers. People are protesting, verbally or even physically, against themselves or their property being photographed on the street. These protests are strangely in contrast with the fact that people are throwing images of themselves in private settings online with little regard for privacy settings or privacy laws. Perhaps they don’t mind the aspect of their privacy being made public so much after all, as long as they have control over what and how? Either way, there is a clear duality in the way people perceive their privacy that is not only a new, interesting aspect of the world in the streets today but even something that can no longer be ignored.

construction

the future lies with the city.

there is nothing to see here

In every place in the world, there are essential locations, buildings, monuments, statues or even atmospheres that everyone knows, everyone wants to see and everyone tries to capture in a photograph. Tens of thousands of variations of these photographs are circulating on the web. People are digesting these images in a high-speed tempo and are quick to dismiss what they have seen before so many times. At the verge of the 20th century, painters as Manet, Cézanne or Picasso were searching for new, interesting ways to depict reality in paintings in response to the rise of photography. Similarly, photographers or visual artists now are seeking new ways to show the world in response to the increased availability of technology and the internet as a means of distribution. The challenge is to find shots that still capture the viewers’ attention, that force them to look at a known concept with a new perspective and that make them more consciously take in and experience the photographs.