The Visionary City



Although population growth is more explosive today than ever before, the issue has been a subject of discussion since the 20th century. Modernist architects and planners sought innovative solutions to absorb the social change. For Bruges, Huib Hoste and Paul Amaury Michel devised a revolutionary urban renewal plan. In Germany, Oswald Mathias Ungers designed models for the new city, based on Berlin. Both projects are on display in a double exhibition. An installation by the British artist Stanza, which literally reacts to environmental factors in London, is being shown in the hall of the Arentshuis.

About The Visionary City

New developments on stilts along a wide avenue: the Belgian modernists Huib Hoste (1881-1957) and Paul Amaury Michel (1912-1988) had grand visions. In 1937-38, they designed a progressive urbanisation plan to connect Bruges station with 't Zand and the city outskirts. Their design contained a mixture of townhouses and workers cottages, open spaces with greenery and playing areas, a theatre and a concert hall. The plan called for a couple of poorer neighbourhoods of old, dilapidated buildings to be torn down. The project never saw fruition but plans, publications and documentation regarding the project can be viewed at the Arentshuis.

In 1977, Oswald Mathias Ungers and Rem Koolhaas published their manifesto The City in the City – Berlin: A Green Archipelago. The manifesto contained concepts and models for the modern city, and was based on West Berlin. Abandoned places resulting from population migrations, demolished buildings and vanished industry were turned into green spaces. Ungers was not interested in historical reconstruction but instead in a new urban landscape with multiple centres. In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he redesigned his plans from scratch. In partnership with UUA Köln, the Triennial is reviving the ‘City Metaphors’ (1976, New York) exhibition, in which Ungers presents his vision of the city as metaphor.


HOSTE & MICHEL:along with Sint-Lukasarchief Brussel

UNGERS:along with  UAA Köln



Essential Info

The Visionary City Indoor

20.05 - 18.10.2015

indoor - Free

Tue-Sun | 9:30 AM -           5:00 PM 
Wheelchair accessible


Stanza – The Intelligent City

The British artist Stanza creates an interface between Bruges and his home city of London with his installation in the Arentshuis hall: Body 01000010011011110110010001111001. The work is based on a 3D scan of the artist and is made from LEDs, motors, cables and specially designed electronics. The Body reacts to differences in temperature, light, air pressure and sound as these stimuli occur in South London, where the artist’s sensor network is housed. 

In the run-up to the Triennial (until 10 May), another work by Stanza is on display in the Arentshuis: The Nemesis Machine. This installation visualises life in the metropolis by using data and video images transmitted from London. His paintings depict the complexity of the city.

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