ARCHITECT OF THE MONTH
Architecture for life The rise of the Bureau Architecture Engineering Verhaegen is the story of one of the Belgian greats. The firm saw birth some 55 years ago, created by Emile Verhaegen, with a philosophy of excellence that will resonate for decades and leave a mark on the Belgian architectural landscape across the board – from academia to policy and architectural style. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC | PHOTOS: BUREAU ARCHITECTURE ENGINEERING VERHAEGEN
Since the beginning of the year, when Verhaegen, now Professor Emeritus of the Université Catholique de Louvain, stepped down from the direction of the Bureau Architecture Engineering Verhaegen (BAEV), it is Jean Paul Muyle and Nicolas Van Oost who took over with an equal motivation to put architecture to the service of daily life. “When working on an architectural pro ject, or any project that impacts the lives of men and women as much as a building does, the stakes are rather high,” explains Van Oost, “and this is why we at
50 | Issue 12 | December 2014
the Bureau Architecture Engineering Verhaegen strive to reconcile beauty and practicality in e verything that we do. People who inhabit our work must enjoy it, this is a core value of our firm.”
What might have started opportunistically, winning a series of calls for projects in healthcare and the pharmaceuticals industry, has become a conscious strategy.
You can recognize the work of the firm throughout Belgium but also overseas, especially because of its modernity and in the way that light sinks inside and inundates the living areas. The tendency of BAEV's team to go for challenges and embrace projects with a high level of technicality is probably one of the reasons behind the firm's success.
As of late, the BAEV is working on a hospital with an integrated oncology centre in Liège, with the objective of having two laboratory levels within the same building. The approach will allow for impressive multidisciplinary patient care and provide a state-of-the-art tool to researchers... but as one can imagine, this doesn't come without its set of challenges.
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.