architects de vylder vinck taillieu
UNLESS EVER PEOPLE / CARITAS FOR FREESPACE
In Kunsthal Ghent
from 20 September 2019 to 24 November 2019
During the Festival of Architecture (21-27 September 2019) Kunsthal Gent will present UNLESS EVER PEOPLE / CARITAS FOR FREESPACE, an exhibition by the Ghent firm of architects de vylder vinck taillieu. The exhibition is a representation of the CARITAS project, which the firm realised on the site of the Karus Psychiatric Centre in Melle near Ghent. The office spared the outdated Sint-Jozef building from demolition and gave the 'ruin' a beautiful, new role as a therapeutic space. An earlier version of this exhibition won the Silver Lion for young and promising work at the Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice and will be on view in Belgium for the first time.
The exhibition consists of an installation with photographs of the CARITAS project, approximately in actual size. The presented photographs are by Filip Dujardin and form a collection of rooms, like the CARITAS building consists of a collection of rooms. For the first exhibition in Venice, the walls were made with simple, wooden frames. This wooden structure was subsequently reused to reinforce the damaged pine floors of the CARITAS building, to keep them accessible. The concrete blocks from the exhibition were reused to repair the brick walls. In the exhibition at Kunsthal Gent, metal tubes rather than wooden frames were used, which the architects will use afterwards to make playground equipment at the building in Melle. The gravel on the floor will also be reused in Melle. The exhibition thus contributes to the maintenance and survival of the building.
About the CARITAS project
The CARITAS project came into being as a result of research into the psychiatric centre of the future. Since the fifties and sixties, several of the old villas on the Caritas site have been demolished and replaced by new buildings. This was almost also the case with the Sint-Jozef building in the middle of the campus, but KARUS' assignment to de vylder vinck taillieu turned the tide. After discussions with all the users of the centre, the Sint-Jozef building was saved from demolition and, following the design of de vylder vinck taillieu, it was transformed into an activity zone for patients, visitors and staff. It was to be a place without a specific function, so that the users of the campus could fill in the undefined space as they wished. The monumental ruin was stripped by the architects and repaired where necessary. In addition, a number of floors were partially cut away and a series of greenhouses, a tree and a lamppost were added. The existing veranda at the front of the building is mirrored at the back; a new plinth extends around the building and softens the transition between inside and outside. CARITAS was realized in a remarkable collaboration with client KARUS, who was closely involved in the process, and with the guidance of BAVO, an independent research collective focused on the political and socio-economic aspects of art, architecture and spatial planning. Participation was the key to this project, in which all parties involved became co-creators.
This exhibition is a collaboration with Museum Dr. Guislain, which organises 'Adieu aan het beddenhuis' on 24 September 2019: a study afternoon on care and architecture, with a guided visit to the exhibition in Kunsthal Gent.