250_Tomasz Bulczak: Atlas of Unexpected Spaces for Collectivity

Tomasz Bulczak

University: KU Leuven

About You: Citizen of The World & a 1st semester student of MSc in Architecture: Resilient & Sustainable Strategies. Peaceful personality, with a special interest in architectural design. Eager to broaden horizons, loves traveling, philosophy and art.

Project Description: Atlas of Unexpected Spaces for Collectivity

inspire - verb [ T ] - to fill someone with confidence and desire to do something
emergence - noun [ U ] (BECOMING KNOWN) - the fact of something becoming
known or starting to exist

It has been now fairly established that people need first and foremost other people. How do we form our build environment with that in mind? Lot is a small town of approximately 4000 citizens located near the south border of Brussels, Belgium. It stays on the crossroads, of being a town or a village, speaking only Dutch or also French, being a collection of private asylums or opening up for collectively? Louis Wirth in his essay “Urbanism as a way of life” – points out main aspects of urbanism through sociology – heterogeneity, social separation and decreasing meaning of an individual. Considering Lot’s character, we can see that those city-like processes have already started. There is an inflow of people with diverse cultural background, current physical form usually doesn’t enhance collective spirit, and not many examples of bottom-up actions can be seen. Additionally, encompassing industries are growing, and the fear of them coming into Lot is mixed with a great opportunity of city investment they can bring. As Adam Caruso points out economy is more influential than architects. 

With the introduction of abstract white spaces, finding new places for daily interactions became clearly needed. Current compact outlook of the streets doesn’t create that opportunity. The proposition was found in channelling that need through thin passages into the interiors of urban blocks. In this way we can create unique island for collectively. A synergic system of distinct characters. Each micro-public space starts with the gesture of giving an extra-value collective functions per urban block to share and looks for opportunities to densify. In the Atlas I proposed a set of options shaped by rules that are both general and specific to the blocks. As a result, the possibilities can be shown that can spark an enthusiasm for collective bottom-up change by its inhabitants. Only they can truly reshape the property structure to fit their needs. For purposes of my project I was eager to intervene the least possible and leave everybody with majority his private garden, hoping that created function will also open up some of those closed walls.

The project also addresses the spaces in between city and industry to mediate the new model for Lot’s future development as a town and a way of absorbing newcomers with scarcity of land. I see a collaboration with interested industries as a driving force for finding solutions benefiting both sides for years to come. Heterogeneity was addressed through purposeful lack of focus. Created spaces hope to attract everyone. A division by aimed solutions, I found not needed. 

Atlas aims to spark an impulse for bottom-up associations and industries to bring Lot together. As in Erwin Schrodinger concept of shared consciousness or Buckminster Fuller’s Spaceship Earth, they can perceive themselves as unity that can act successfully for their own sustainable future.

Instagram Username: @tbulczak