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PORTFOLIO Liese van Aert

Liese van Aert ° 17 april 1991

Oudesteenweg 67 2060 Antwerpen Belgium +32 475 27 46 42


‘13 ‘17

Master of Engineering Science: Architecture (option Urban Project)

experience [mar] Athens course: The Art of Building Cities


KULeuven, University of Leuven Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Planning (ASRO)

‘09 ‘14

Bachelor of Engineering Science: Architecture

Politecnico di Milano [sep] International Seminar ‘Agua más Ciudad’


a collaboration of Universidad Nacional de Colombia w/ KU Leuven, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Universidad de Chile, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Universidad alas Peruanas, Idipron

KULeuven, University of Leuven Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Planning (ASRO)

‘03 ‘09

Secondary Education: Latin-Mathematics Kardinaal Van Roey institute, Vorselaar


[aug - oct] Research master thesis in Bogotá, Colombia Universidad Nacional de Colombia

‘12 ‘13

Existenz Responsible co-coordinator for Unité, an architecture magazine made by and for students. w/ Laura Ysenbaardt

language Dutch [++++] French [++] English [+++] Spanish [+]

software Mac OS X, Windows Adobe Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator Autodesk Autocad Google Sketchup MS Office lasercutting

master thesis

[part 1]

‘14 ‘15

p 06 Re-articulating waterscapes and urban structures in the Sabana de Bogotá [urban research]

[part 11]

‘14 ‘15

selected works Interweaving eco- and infrastructures [urban research & design] 4

p 13


Hoogstade deepened

p 21

[urban design]


The Park of Leuven

p 34

[landscape urbanism]

[design of public space]

p 27


[architectural design]

‘12 ‘13

‘11 ‘12


RIP the palace


Weststation Molenbeek

[masterplan, architectural design]

p 39

p 49


p 53



Bogotรก, Colombia 2014 - 2015 type: urban research [master thesis, part I] promotor: Bruno De Meulder co-promotor: Claudia Lucia Rojas Bernal readers: Paulina Espinosa, Camillo Pinilla, Kelly Shannon, Karel Vandenhende w/ Miep Linssen, Charlotte Timmers, Josephine Van Haverbeke, Bram Van Sever, Anna Zervas

Re-articulating waterscapes and urban structures in the Sabana de Bogotรก


The city of Bogotรก lies within the watershed of the Bogotรก river. The river springs at an altitude of 3300m, runs down with high velocity until it reaches a plane at 2600m. This plateau is a very fertile area surrounded by mountains. It is called the Sabana de Bogotรก. Here the speed of the river reduces gravely because of the limited height difference and the enormous width over which the water spreads. The Sabana ends in the Tequendama waterfalls where the river dives down and flows into the Magdalena river at 280m above sea level. Topographical map of the watershed with a height profile of the Rio Bogotรก.

Sabana de Bogotรก

3300m 2600m

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25Km 280m

The timeline shows that men forced water into its narrowest possible confines in order for the city to expand. ( chapter II: The Transformation of the Sabana)

water vs. city Throughout history, the Sabana has been a fertile area characterized by abundant resources of water such as wetlands, lakes and rivers. The biodiversity of both fauna and flora in the wetlands is of great value. Because of the particular shape of the Sabana, the plain area has to cope with a great amount of water, coming from both the hillsides and the Bogotรก river. The twentieth century brought forward unseen growth patterns. Wetlands got destructed, rivers canalised and dikes were heightened during the big urban sprawl, leaving the Sabana with big water and urban issues. The city kept growing while pushing to its limits. The Sabana de Bogotรก hereby gained an unbalanced character. The eastern riverbank is densely built-up by mostly impermeable tissue that prevents rainwater from infiltrating and thus increases and fastens run-off. Consequently Bogotรก has suffered from multiple floods, hitting the poor neighbourhoods along the river especially hard. The western banks were predominantly used for agriculture but the last 20 years, development in the municipalities at the western side of the river is booming. Disconnected land use decisions and local development strategies have negative impact on the potential of the Sabana as a whole and promote unsustainable urbanisation patterns. The irrigation system uses water from the river and the wetlands while Bogotรก discharges all of its wastewater into that same river, causing severe pollution. The Sabana clearly lacks a global vision that takes into account the landscape with its water and ecologies. There exists a real threat of destroying even more ecosystems, causing more frequent floods and losing the rural landscape. The remaining wetlands of the Sabana (chapter III: Water Issues) The ever expanding built tissue (chapter IV: Urban Issues) 9

TOWARDS A BALANCED SABANA In order to start dealing with the environmental and urban challenges of the Sabana in an integrated way, a re-articulation of four landscape identities is provided: the urban voids of the watershed, the urban fringe of Bogotรก, the rural landscape and the suburban sprawl. These identities will give guidance to further development, a better water management and the restoration and preservation of ecologies. The re-articulation of the landscape identities is imperative to prevent overconsumption of productive land, the continuous fragmentation of the ecological structure and the disappearance of the scarce urban voids. It provides a framework that guides development in the Sabana de Bogotรก. The landscape elements meet each other at the Bogotรก river, making it the backbone of the Sabana. The river, now considered a backside, needs to function as the key element in the new water approach. Not a border, but an ultimate collector or connector of waterscapes and urban structures. Therefore we zoom in on the river, exploring more in detail the specific characteristics of the identities alongside it. 0 10




The urban voids of the watershed are large green-blue structures, mainly situated along the river and its three tributaries. These remaining voids are highly fragmented, resulting in low ecological qualities, amongst others. The urban voids need to be recognised as ecological structures and water bodies of high importance. Enhancing and connecting them will make it possible to restore lost ecosystems, regulate water dynamics and provide qualitative open spaces, all of which are of great importance to the liveability of the city.

The monotonous grid strongly defines much of the dense and compact form of the city. The urban fringe of Bogotá, largely overlapping with the river’s floodplain, consists of highly populated, rather poor neighbourhoods that lack adequate infrastructure. A careful reading of this dense tissue reveals vacant lots and open spaces that offers opportunities for a more sustainable interplay with water. By creating a network for water management these spaces can be connected with the large urban voids.

Three important ecological structures define the rural landscape. In the north, two afforested hills rise up from the plateau. In the middle, there is a strip of large wetlands. And in the South there is a great area of hydric soil. These natural areas, fundamental for environmental management and biodiversity conservation, need to be preserved from urbanisation. The wetlands, that play an important role in the irrigation network, can be used to clean, store and re-use water, hereby giving the Bogotá river space to breath.

Small urban centres, widely spread suburban agglomeration, industry and green houses are scattered across the agricultural landscape. Two main entryways of Bogotá generate a pattern of linear urban growth. Along the northern road, development is mainly dedicated to industry. Along the southern road that connects Bogotá with other municipalities, like Funza, Mosquera and Madrid, is a mixture of residential and industrial activities and services. These growth patterns are very land consuming. Guidance of the suburban sprawl towards a more efficient use of land is very necessary.

The second part of the master thesis focuses on the suburban sprawl around Calle 13, more specifically on the municipalities Funza and Mosquera. 11


Interweaving eco- and infra-structures Funza & Mosquera, Bogotรก, Colombia 2014 - 2015 type: urban research & design [master thesis, part II] promotor: Bruno De Meulder co-promotor: Claudia Lucia Rojas Bernal readers: Paulina Espinosa, Camillo Pinilla, Kelly Shannon, Karel Vandenhende w/ Bram Van Sever Aerial picture of Funza and Mosquera before their explosive expansion, 1962.


The second book focuses on the suburban sprawl. Suburbanisation goes hand in hand with an uncontrolled land consuming expansion, it causes severe fragmentation in the tissue and has no regard for ecologies, to mention only a few of the issues at hand.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES The formation and growth of both the urban and sub-urban tissue so far has been largely determined by the blue and grey veins embedded in the landscape. They therefore form the fundamental idea behind eco- and infra-structure: guiding principles for sub-urbanisation. Eco-structure The whole of connected water bodies and the ecosystems they produce that sculpture the land- and cityscape. The eco-structure guides urbanisation. Through the presence of water it determines specific borders that limit urban expansion and secures breathing space within the city. The enlarging and strengthening of water bodies aids in the natural flood regulation. The eco-structure safeguards ecologies. Green blue corridors that connect water bodies procure continuity.

constructed wetlands basin Water barrier urban void 0 14




Infra-structure The whole of hierarchical components that facilitate connection and movement and generate interaction. The infra-structure guides urbanisation. It has a dual nature: When functioning in a human manner, it is soft. It is a tangible network linked to public spaces and residential areas. When functioning in a mechanical manner, it is hard. It is an unyielding chain into witch large economic functions are plugged in. existing bike lane existing road new bike lane new road railway tracks tram station 0



5km 15

Funza y mosquera Instead of living in the big city, people have started to live in the municipalities that surround it. This shift has been most distinctively noticeable in the sub-urbanised strip around Calle 13 and more specifically in Funza and Mosquera. Over the span of the last 25 years the combined population of these municipalities has tripled Therefore they are the perfect subject to look into multiple aspects of a vast sub-urban sprawl, a transformation other municipalities on the Sabana might still have in prospect. Eco-structure The broadwise expansion of the sub-urban tissue is limited by a couple of important eco-structural components. The water barrier in the south puts a limit to the urban sprawl. Wetlands and basins are constructed to safeguard breathing space and partially regulate flooding. Also a framework of new water bodies safeguards 3 large open spaces in the existing tissue of Funza and Mosquera. The system is designed to collect runoff, store and purify water in a natural manner. The eco-structure draws ecologies deep into the scattered sub-urban fabric. On a smaller scale this brings forth pleasant public space that takes on different characters depending on its surroundings. Infra-structure A tramline provides a connection between Bogotรก and the municipalities across the Sabana and has stops on strategic locations. The stations will attract activity and a multitude of functions that can revive the surrounding neighbourhoods. Within the urban fabric infra-structure functions as a border by defining the outlines of open spaces and by articulating a faรงade for them. The proposed interventions will thoroughly change the traffic patterns within Funza and Mosquera. They enable clearly articulated, separate networks for hard and soft traffic. The historical axes play a crucial role and offer a framework that aids in structuring the sub-urban tissue. They are the carriers of public transport and soft traffic and hereby function as a connector and collector on a human scale. A set of tools is provided to achieve the proposed spatial implementation of both eco- and infra-structure. (Chapter II: Funza y Mosquera) 16

Housing In the urban tissue of Funza and Mosquera mostly two building typologies are recognisable. The houses of the rather poor citizens are selfbuilt, which is immediately visible because of the limited skill level. Those a bit more prosperous live mainly in formal housing settlements. These are equally easy to recognise because of the copy-paste methodology. Neither one however succeeds in providing qualitative housing that is well integrated and functioning within the urban context. Building lots are stacked by means of a concrete fill-in structure.

We therefore propose an alternative typology that provides a concrete fill-in structure. It hereby achieves higher density by stacking building lots.

When buying a lot one can opt for the absolute minimum and self-built the rest of the house or one can choose to buy a lot with a (partially) constructed house. The structure does not limit the personal style nor does it discriminate based on financial means. Not all the lots in the structure are preserved for building. Some lots will remain open so they can become a communal space where neighbours can meet, organise a party, light a barbecue, ‌ The fill-in structure can be implemented in various ways. In the thesis four housing typologies are proposed, specifically designed for two contexts: eco- and infra-structure.

A conceptual representation of four housing typologies designed to function within eco- or infra-structure. The spatial qualities of the structure are enhanced by leaving strategically chosen lots vacant. 17


Three parks The eco- and infra-structural framework has three focus areas, namely three big open spaces in the city. Each one of these spaces is designed as a park with a singular character, specific to its context. This results in the Humedal, Agro and Floral Park.

The Floral Park has the specific character of a botanical garden with the function of flower housing and vice versa. Axonometry of the Floral Park.

The Agro Park is smaller and aims to provide practical education and other facilities for the community. Furthermore it provides space for small-scale agricultural production.

The Humedal Park is determined largely by the extension of the wetland to which it borders. Therefore its main focus points are ecology and recreation.

The entrance of the Floral Park is designed as a public space inside a building block. A large flower house roof structure announces the park truthful to its character. 19


hoogstade deepened Hoogstade (Alveringem) 2nd master, 1st semester in 2013 type: urban design as part of ‘Studio Lelijk Dorp: de Baan’ mentors: Ward Verbakel, Wim Wambecq w/ Lise Neirinckx exhibited at ASRO open studio exhibition, june 2014


The N8 – a high traffic national road – forms a hard, concrete line straight through the landscape of the Westhoek. It has forced many villages into a pattern of linear growth with the N8 itself as a problematic morphological and social centre. Hoogstade is among those villages. To relieve its residential core of heavy traffic on one hand and to provide this traffic with smooth passage on the other, the N8 will be re-routed through a local bypass. This entails a big structural change for Hoogstade. How will it be affected? And how can urban design make a change?

hostede Hoogstade is an utterly small village with 159 dwellings that house 451 citizens. It has a distinctive, historically grown, rural character that contrasts sharply with Hostede, the newly constructed business park. Hostede consists of seven local businesses, settled on a 2,5 ha sized lot. This increase of economic activity and its positive consequences are unfortunately in no way represented in the architecture. The monolithic volumes overshadow the village with their enormous scale and their oppressive architectonic language. They sit quietly alongside the centre of the village, withholding any kind of engagement. The discontinuity in scale between the business park and the centre of the village. 22

new N8 old N8

Map depicting the build tissue and the N8 bypass next to an aerial view of hoogstade.

carved connection Hoogstade has 2 residential expansion zones. The most southern one happens to be the strip of land in between the centre of the village and the business park. This area is therefore ideal to facilitate a much needed connection and to guide the further growth of the village with it. The proposed design aims to achieve this by carving and moulding the landscape.

water bodies


The landscape design is grounded in 4 separate layers that are recognizable in the surroundings: water bodies: mostly drainage canals for the agricultural fields; topography; impermeable plains: typically the courtyards of farms; built tissue.

impermeable plains

built tissue

3 x 3 km2

current situation

proposed design 23

The landscape is composed of moor-like grassland, shallow lakes with a rich waterside and rows of poplar trees that guide the eye. It features three elevated platforms, two of which form the foundation of future housing developments. The other one lies at the end of the route, where the landscape has entered the heart of the business park.

In an open scenery the water, walkways and poplar trees forge a connection between the village and the business park. 24





Relief model out of plaster. 25


Courthouse, Brussels 1st master, 2nd semester in 2013 type: design of public space collective urban design & individual project elaboration mentors: Yurri Gerrits, Leo Van Broeck w/ Charlotte Timmers, Anna Zervas exhibited at ASRO open studio exhibition, june 2013

RIP the palace

Reference image: Shibboleth, Doris Salcedo, Tate Modern, 2007


The Brussels courthouse is a colossus that symbolises an outdated judicial system, a power that suppresses the people, whose architecture was made to strike fear into the hearts of the masses. It is a symbol that doesn’t agree with a modern ministry of justice that strives for independence and transparency, that serves society.

The design is based on proposal nr. 109 ‘Cool Palace! Go to rehab’ of the Brussels Courthouse contest. It features a number of new functions, for example: a community centre, bars, coffee shops, a library, a night school, public parks, a childcare, … Furthermore the ‘Salle des Pas Perdus’ at the heart of the courthouse will become a market hall.

Give the palace back to the people

RIP the palace

Because of its location and powerful presence the ‘palais de justice’ holds the opportunity to function as a new uniting symbol. Therefore we think that the judicial function is best moved elsewhere so that the palace can be repurposed and become a catalyst for its surroundings.

To truly convince the people to claim the palace for themselves, it is not enough to simply evict the ministry of justice. The grandeur of the architecture still imposes suffering. That is why we rip open the palace.





rules Every crack is situated where a specific problem needs to be solved. Every crack enters into the heart of the building, the ‘Salle des Pas Perdus thus becomes the knot where everything ties together, the destination of the route. Every crack establishes a distinct experience through a fixed program. This is contrary to the design of the ‘unripped plinth’ of which the quality is improved by minimal, soft interventions. The platform will be a car free area with a green character. The plinth offers room for freedom: skating, street parties, streetart, flea markets or terraces are just some of the many possibilities.

The palace gets ripped open to end the repression imposed by its architecture. The cracks serve as a visual anti-symbol.

Specifically we make 3 cracks: [1] one through the Poelaertplein [2] one towards the Marollen [3] one at the Wynantsstraat

Every crack makes a public garden in one or more of the courtyards accessible. The other gardens can be accessed through the ‘Salle des Pas Perdus’. The local entry points have the added advantage of being easily closed off at night.


View inside the crack where two courtyards encapsulating public gardens have been opened up.

The palace turns its back on the Wynantsstraat. The houses have nothing to look at but the dead, blind faรงade of the plinth.

RIP open the plinth The crack carves out a steep, narrow path; an alley of which the grain matches that of the houses on the opposite side. The route accesses two inner gardens and opens them up towards the south.

MAteriality The cracks should look rough and echo a kind of decay, like a modern day ruin that invites people to come in, take off their kid gloves and get to work. Therefore the walls of the cracks are treated with spray-on concrete of varying thickness. The detailing allows for the weathering to be as impactful as possible. The walkway on the other hand is to be executed with clean, crisp looking materials. Sleek inox details, a smooth concrete floor and hidden strips of light that appear at night will create a field of tension with the roughness of the walls. Detail of transverse section through the crack, at the stairway in the plinth. Longitudinal section of the crack 30




25m 31


the park of leuven Heverlee, Leuven 1st master, 1st semester in 2012 type: landscape urbanism mentors: Guido Geenen, Yurri Gerrits, Jan Vermeulen w/ Maria Fofirca, Charlotte Timmers, Anna Zervas exhibited at ASRO open studio exhibition, june 2013


THE PARK The given site, parking Bodart, is to be the fourth and last urban renewal project on the ring of Leuven (after the station area, the Philips site and the Vaartkom). Therefore it is imperative to look at a larger scale in order to fully comprehend its potential. The most important of our findings is the beautiful valley of both the Dijle and the Voer, adjacent to the site. What is now a fragmented green area, engulfed by a campus, can be lifted to the level of a new regional park and the main park of Leuven. Two presentation panels (original format A1). 34

4 parts In the green finger four different parts can be distinguished. The design of each part is built on this, further defining separate and clear identities. The park as a whole thus entails a journey through a sequence of spaces. The experience varies from rather urban, close to the city, as a result from quite extensive and hard interventions, to more rural and natural, resulting from small, minimal interventions. The city park combines sports fields and recreational zones. The area enclosed between the rivers is arranged by means of crosswise strips. They create different atmospheres and perspectives, hereby enhancing the position of the remaining public built forms. The OHL stadium and the tennis courts are relocated to make room for a new residential area. The second part consists mostly of university research area, so the park takes the shape of a boulevard. It will mainly serve as a connection between the city park and the forest, allowing passersby a glimpse of what will be the garden of the university. The forest is dictated by a historical grid, which offers possibilities for running, horseback riding, mountainbiking, ... It is made more recognisable by revealing its points of interest, such as a hidden castle and an old gate. A green corridor connects this forest and Heverlee Bos. Furthermore the existing tunnel underneath the highway is improved to give clear passage to the final part of the park. The wetlands present a mixture of a typical Flemish agricultural scene and a beautiful natural reserve. Five platforms are positioned at the end of the existing roads, creating viewpoints where the surrounding nature can be enjoyed. 35

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THE BIG GATES The viaduct (currently in very poor condition) is removed and the ring road is relocated towards the inner city limits in order to define a clear border at the head of the Park of Leuven. The Bodart site and the parking lot of OHL are the key points to complete the park with two main entryways. These entrances are designed in a manner that emphasises the frame of the first strip of the city park. The underground water connection between the rivers Dijle and Voer is brought to the surface complete with a floodplain to improve its regulating capacity. In combination with strategically planted trees, this offers a buffer against the traffic rushing by. Furthermore the relation between the two entrances is articulated by redirecting the bicycle and pedestrian track away from the busy road and straight through the park.

The location next to the Koning Boudewijnlaan is ideal for a high capacity concert hall (something Leuven is currently missing) in combination with a transferium. Here you can easily switch your travelling medium, from car to bike or bus. The longitudinal shape and large urban plaza gently guide visitors towards the park.

The other entrance is designed as a wooden framed tube that incorporates a bridge over the Dijle and is therefore the only way into the park. Furthermore the frame offers room to a kiosk, a coffee shop and bicycle parking. The structure is positioned central on a large square from where a tunnel offers safe and smooth passage for cyclists and pedestrians to the other side of the ring road. The frame punctures a screen of trees, curiously luring people into the park. Two main entrances at the head of the park introduce a system of crosswise segments 37


Molenbeek, Brussels 3rd bachelor, 2011 - 2012 type: masterplan, architectural design mentors: Goedele Desmet, Yurri Gerrits, Erik Van Daele, Han Vandevyvere w/ Evelien Lambrechts, Tom Lanclus, FrĂŠderique Vermeyen exhibited at ASRO open studio exhibition, june 2012 Old Vandenheuvel brewery on the site.

Weststation Molenbeek


Brussels’ suburb, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, is a conglomerate of residential buildings and remnants of a past industry. The area is known for its high population density and has a lack of public spaces, resulting in a very poor living quality. Near metrostation West, a part of the old Vandenheuvel brewery was demolished, leaving a triangularly shaped empty lot. This site is located on the border of new and old Molenbeek. It is surrounded with vacant industrial buildings awaiting their conversion. Furthermore the Ninoofsesteenweg and the station make for a busy traffic junction at the head of the site. The design exercise existed in developing a masterplan at the site for +/- 100 housing units and a further elaboration and detailing of a part of the masterplan.

MASTERPLAN The presence of the Ninoofsesteenweg asks for a buffer volume that screens of the site from the heavy traffic. By breaking this volume, a pedestrian flow can be achieved on the site. The further scattering of volumes allows the emergence of various public spaces: the station plaza, the market, the aerial garden, the deck, the central square, the playground and the collective garden. Each space has its own characteristics, atmosphere and function. The head of the site is lowered so it can dive underneath the road and provide a direct underground access to the Weststation. As such an easier and safer connection is made between new and old Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. The voids in between the housing blocks become qualitative outdoor spaces with atmospheres ranging from public to collective, each with its own identity. The longitudinal section shows the route of the pedestrians and the play of different levels over the site. weststation new molenbeek



central square old molenbeek

centre of Brussels

station plaza

aerial garden market





central square

collective garden


50m 41


access circulation shaft access shops access parking

The elaboration of a part of the masterplan researches an attractive alternative for high density housing. The focus is on a cluster of three housing blocks that border the central square. This square opens up the site towards the Ninoofsesteenweg, though its level lies below that of the road. The space is surrounded by shops and gives access to the underground parking. The different volumes are positioned in such manner that only narrow spaces remain between them. This creates a gradient from the public atmosphere of the square to a private/collective garden. In the alleys the entrances are located, giving access to the vertical circulation shaft.

Map depicting the accessibility of the shops and housing units in the blocks enclosing the central square. 42


translucent polycarbonate

wooden batten

perforated cortensteel

A dynamic facade wraps around the building like a jacket.


Detail of the connection of a floor with a window on the upper level and an inside terrace on the lower level. The folding mechanism of the jacket (here: perforated cortensteel) is attached to a loadbearing structure of I-profiles.

The masterplan shows an aligned plan with the different housing blocks in an orthogonal grid. The different blocks border different squares and therefore have different characteristics. We decided to treat each housing block as an individual by generating its own plan and by wrapping it in a unique ‘jacket’. The ‘jacket’ is a curtain wall that takes the pure form of the volumes. The actual building is designed with terraces integrated in the volume. Consequently the curtain wall stands separate and can be designed independently. At the location of windows and terraces, the curtain wall can be manually folded. Like this a dynamic façade is proposed, leaving the inhabitant to manage his own privacy and exposure to sunlight. For each housing block we picked a transparent material leaving a glimpse of activity and showing light during night time. Perforated cortensteel facade of building block 5.




Floorplan of block 3, level 2: 3 bedroom apartment with office space Facade of block 3 46




Floorplan of block 4, level 4: two 2 bedroom apartments Facade of block 4





cloud site Rijschoolstraat, Leuven 2nd bachelor, 2nd semester in 2011 type: architectural design mentor: Francis Catteeuw Reference image: RedBall Project, Kurt Perschke, Taipei, 2009


CLOUD Sports hall ‘Rijschool’, located in the Rijschoolstraat, is very dated, dark, unappealing and insufficient to fulfil the needs of the sports clubs and schools that regularly use it. Its Potemkin front is the fourth wall enclosing a square that is surrounded by otherwise beautiful neoclassical facades. The buildings two lengthwise walls are a bit of a peculiarity. They are one meter thick full brick walls. The exercise was to design new sports facilities, leaving the question of building new versus renovating open. I decided to keep the massive walls and work within the frame they provide.

A new volume nestles itself between the walls. It is lightweight and airy in contrast with the mass of the brick. It gets raised from the ground, hereby creating a large plaza underneath. This plaza forms an extension to the square in front of the building. It is a space that offers shadow and coolness in summer, protection from rain and wind in winter, but more than that it can also be a market place as well as a venue for concerts or street theatre. The building contains three halls. One is a small studio ideal for ballet, dance, yoga, etc. The other two are bigger and higher spaces facilitating sports like volleyball, basketball, badminton, indoor football, etc. Spectators can watch from the stands, the raised gallery or the cafeteria. Furthermore an office space and multiple locker rooms have also been included in the design. The brick walls were extended so that elevator shafts and storage rooms could be incorporated.

Sports hall ‘Rijschool’ in its current state.


Floor plans: 1 entrance 6 office 2 stage 7 Big sports hall 3 backstage 8 Small sports studio 4 closable bar 9 gallery 5 changing room 10 cafetaria Longitudinal section shows the relation between the square in front of the sports hall and the covered plaza underneath it.

Conceptual model.



+1 1 3


5 5 5 5



7 6 1


4 10 7





6 7 1 0






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Existenz Leuven 2012 – 2013 cultural organisation of the 1st master students Engineering Architecture at KU Leuven [ ]


Existenz works a whole year on the theme ‘architecture’ in the broadest sense imaginable. It organises events, lectures, architectural trips and off course the occasional party. It publishes magazine Unité. Finally, for the duration of one week, it occupies an abandoned building and makes it burst with life. This is known as the Existenz Week and it is the highlight of the year.

Unité w/ Laura Ysenbaardt & others Unité is a student magazine from architecture students for everyone with an interest in architecture, design, urban planning and photography. We published three magazines spread over the entire year, all with a different main theme. The first edition explored the terms ‘experience’ and ‘time’ in architecture and all its disciplines. We interviewed Luc Binst from Crepain-Binst Architecture and visited Albert Bontridder in his own house in Sint-Genesius- Rode, both wellestablished names in the Belgian architectural landscape. The second edition came out during the Existenz Week in the old Stella bottling plant in Leuven. This week was all about ‘going of the grid’ and our magazine picked up on this theme. We created a DIY manual on how to built your own piece of furniture, talked about pop-up stores and

[] 54

the confrontation between temporary and permanent architecture and caught Vincent Van Duysen for an interview about his work. The bottling plant where the Week had taken place was about to be demolished by a realtor. We tried to stop the plans inter alia by making a special edition dedicated to the beauty of the bottling plant and the possibilities it could create. The third and last edition was not only about architecture but also about all disciplines that are related to it. We browsed through the work of architectural photographer Filip Dujardin and talked with landscapers Bart Haverkamp and Pieter Croes. The magazines can be read online on the page of Unité on Issuu.

EXISTENZ WEEK w/ Daan Janssens, Bram Van Sever, Jens Verley We were able to secure the old Stella bottling plant, near the Vaartkom in Leuven, as the location of the Existenz Week. This mastodon of a building - now sadly demolished - consisted of four 8m high stories. The ceiling high windows on the third floor offered an incredible view on the city. Therefore we decided that this was the ideal space for a bar. I was on the team that designed this bar. Because of the large scale of the room and the limited resourced, we decided on 4 big interventions. We built a large bubble wrap wall, a floating table out of pallets, a bar out of old metal lockers and an enormous pivoting door. They all stand in the room alone as objects, organising the space around them.


Last update: march 2017

Portfolio Liese van Aert  
Portfolio Liese van Aert