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Urban Summer

Organized by Urban, the Urban Summer festival opens the doors to contemporary architecture.

For two weeks, guided tours, installations, open days, workshops, conferences and exhibitions are available free of charge to everyone at Mont des Arts.

Each year, a curator is invited to present his vision of contemporary architecture and to participate in the programmation of this festival.

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Bety Waknine
Head of Urban

Is architecture an art?

Architecture is too often seen as a matter for specialists. Urban has given itself the job of raising awareness” of architecture. Not disseminating an official version of what architecture should be, but rather creating a buzz around these issues.

Bringing people together around architecture is the role Urban intends to play. In this sense, the word culture” has its true raison d’être for architecture and for Urban. In 2019, Urban commissioned architects Gijs Van Vaerenbergh to create a temporary sculpture (Grotto). Following the success of this initiative, Urban decided to repeat the experience, this time with no fewer than five architectural objects”, imagined and designed by talented Belgian, as well as foreign (Germany, the Netherlands and France) architects. Urban has entrusted the selection to the curators of Archiweek 2020/​humbble, Katia Truijen and Traumnovelle.

Throughout these two weeks, these works and the initiatives that accompany them will question us on the role of architecture. Should it strictly serve our needs? Should it make us dream? Or make us think? Should it follow the evolution of our society or should it, on the contrary, anticipate or even provoke changes? 

Our participants and partners will attempt to answer these questions during the various events (guided tours, bike tours, film screenings, conferences, etc.) on the programme for our first Urban Summer.

I wish you all a rewarding summer of architectural discoveries! 

Bety Waknine

Pascal Smet
Secretary of State of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Urbanism

When I moved to Brussels 25 years ago and walked its streets, I admired the beautiful buildings and met many of its welcoming people. But I also discovered a city with a great untapped potential.
Squares and streets were almost entirely reserved for cars, architecture was built without a soul. In several European cities, the evolution to sustainable urban development had already begun, but in my Brussels that was still a far off dream. 

In Brussels, public space has long been seen as an area reserved for no one. It was and still is my goal to reshape our city so that the public space belongs to everyone. In this respect, we are experiencing very exciting times in Brussels. Many of our squares are no longer open air car parks. We have turned them into places where people connect with each other. This is the case for the place Flagey, place du Miroir, place Dumon, place Rogier, place Mercier and place Fernand Cocq. And we have transformed many of our urban motorways into beautiful boulevards or car free avenues. Some examples are Chaussée d’Ixelles, Boulevard de la Woluwe, Boulevard Général Jacques and the central boulevards.

The path has been paved and Brussels has definitively chosen the road to a city for people, instead of the city for cars that I discovered 25 years ago.

Today, it is time to take some next important steps. We will bring our architecture and public spaces to the next level. The city should become everyone’s living room where we all feel at home. And we all have to work together to achieve it. That is why we organise activities such as urban summer”: an architecture festival in the public space where we think together about the Brussels of tomorrow while enjoying the Brussels of today!

Enjoy urban summer”, enjoy summer, enjoy Brussels!