Christophe Van Gerrewey

Something Completely Different

Join Christophe Van Gerrewey to discuss the nature of architecture through the Belgian case during the launch of his new publication Something Completely Different.

Since the foundation of the country in 1830, architecture in Belgium has been an expression of the key issues of modern Western societies. In Something Completely Different, Christophe Van Gerrewey uses this small European country as a case study to describe, interpret, and criticize more universal spatial problems and behaviors. In seven wide-ranging essays, he looks at the activities of architects from the past two centuries to better understand political evolutions, social gaps, aesthetic considerations, housing and planning, transport and infrastructure, order and chaos, and culture and ecology. The result is a literary text full of surprises and discoveries, showing both the shortcomings and the merits of what architects do.

Written as a kind of anti-guidebook, Something Completely Different appropriates certain clichés about Belgium (Baudelaire famously called Belgian monuments “counterfeits of France”), eschews the pragmatism of most guidebooks in favor of meditative, essayistic prose, and finally, cunningly, reveals that all along the subject has not been Belgium at all, but rather the nature of architecture.

Wednesday, September 18, 2024
CIVA, Rue de l'Ermitage 55, 1050 Brussels


Christophe Van Gerrewey is Assistant Professor of Architecture Theory at EPFL Lausanne. He is the editor of OMA/Rem Koolhaas: A Critical Reader from Delirious New York to S,M,L,XL and the author of Choosing Architecture and Higher Knowledge: SANAA’s Rolex Learning Center at EPFL since 2010. He is a co-editor of architecture journal OASE, and of art and culture journal De Witte Raaf. In his writings, architecture is considered as a source of comprehensive and integrated knowledge that pertains to diverse disciplines – a way of looking at, and of understanding, many aspects of the world we live in. This gives his activities an unusually broad and comprehensive aspect, transcending divisions of knowledge. He was trained as an architect-engineer at Ghent University and as a literary theorist at KU Leuven. He has published three novels and a collection of essays between 2013 and 2017.