Belgium, a nation steeped in rich architectural history, is now embracing a bold era of innovation that seamlessly intertwines with deeply rooted traditions. From the grandeur of Gothic cathedrals to the whimsical charm of Art Nouveau, Belgian architecture has always been a story of evolution, adaptation and artistic brilliance. It’s a story that continues to be told boldly and that’s very true of the 21st century.
You can say that Belgium’s architectural landscape is undergoing a renaissance with pioneering architects reshaping the skylines of cities like Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent. Here, we unveil some of the emerging trends and architectural firms that are at the forefront of this visionary journey. A name that needs to be on everyone’s lips is Bovenbouw.
Based in the city of Antwerp, Bovenbouw is a beacon of contemporary Belgian architecture. Guided by the visionary architect Dirk Somers, this firm of 20 European architects defies the need to be avant-garde for the sake of being avant-garde. Instead, they’re embracing storytelling when starting a new project. Each project is defined by a unique narrative, effortlessly blending timeless and contemporary elements. Their work, showcased in prestigious exhibitions from Venice to London, celebrates the harmony of old and new, cementing Bovenbouw's place in the architectural pantheon.
Embrace of history through a contemporary design lens is also traced through the smaller projects across the country. South African architect Sumayya Vally is leaving her indelible mark on Belgian architecture with the breathtaking Asiat-Darse pedestrian bridge in Vilvoorde. The design pays homage to Congolese agriculturist Paul Panda Farnana.
A series of boat-like forms, resembling undulating sculptures, will connect to form the bridge, punctuated by a walkway platform. These structures, doubling as planters, resonate with Farnana's legacy, symbolizing the spreading of seeds on the wind. Sumayya Vally's creation merges art and architecture.