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AJ 23.05.24: Belgium

AJ 23.05.24: Belgium


The Belgium issue offers a deep dive into why this perhaps unlikely country has become a happy hunting ground for UK-based architects. As editor Emily Booth observes in her introduction, 'centuries of shared trade and cultural history over the choppy North Sea mean the similarities and the links with the UK run deep' - but it is the substantial opportunities for work that are the real draw for the UK's practices today.

In a special projects round-up, we explore these opportunities through the work of UK names currently working in Belgium, including Counterspace, DRDH and David Chipperfield Architects. Meanwhile, our building studies include the retrofit of a fire station, and the transformation of an industrial building into a residential development by local practices ATAM and Notan Office, respectively.

In News we reveal the 2024 AJ100 Awards Shortlist, including Practice of the Year and Employer of the Year. We also meet director of the Flanders Architecture Institute Sofie De Caigny, and explore Maccreanor Lavington's plans for a post-'Brusselisation' retrofit scheme.

In Culture, Florian Heilmeyer reviews Rotor, a book exploring the works of artist-turned-builder Marcel Raymaekers, while an essay from Ellis Woodman sings the praises of the Flanders-style open call.

Elsewhere David Grandorge explores what's changing in Belgium - and what is not in the UK - while The Coach answers burning questions on redundancy, including what do next if it happens to you.

This month's sketchbook comes curtesy of Robert Coz, director at ADAM Architecture and the latest Hellman takes aim Kier Starmer's grey belt development plans.