kaffee weltevree via au pays des merveilles

A new academic year means a new Existenz team and new Existenz cafés.  Since I don’t live in Leuven anymore, these cafés are the perfect excuse to go back and catch up with old friends.  (I even wished I could fly back for an evening of Existenz festivities when I was living in Lisbon.)  This year’s opening event was called Kaffee Weltevree and took place in the courtyard of our beloved castle (the home of Leuven’s architecture department).  The combination of the fairy tale like surroundings, the live music, the friends I hadn’t seen in a while and the obligatory beers resulted in a great evening.  I’ve called this city home for five and a half years and nights like this remind me why.

(You can find Existenz on facebook here to stay up to date with their activities.)

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hatching by gijs van vaerenbergh via au pays des merveilles

One thing I didn’t show you in yesterday’s post about this year’s Existenz week, is this installation called ‘Hatching’ by architects Gijs Van Vaerenbergh.  Together with the students from Existenz, they designed and executed this installation at one of the floors of the old Stella Artois bottling plant.  For more information, a really cool video of the construction and more photos (by me!), you can take a look here.

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existenz maximum via au pays des merveilles

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know my love for Existenz, the organization of first master students of architecture in Leuven, who make it their goal for the year to turn an abandoned building into a playground for everyone who loves art and architecture (and an occasional drink and dance), and this for only one week.  As every year, this year’s edition was a blast.  The location, the old bottling plant of Stella Artois, was breath-takingly beautiful (that light!) and I think the photos show it well, which explains the photo overload after the jump. (In case you can’t tell: I got myself a new camera (canon eos 650d) and I’m thrilled with its results!) 

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Yesterday I showed you how amazing the Existenz Maximum location looked this year, today I’ll give you an impression of what happened there at night…  There was a lot of dancing, making new friends (preferably with tiger socks), dressing up to do the lindy hop, cosmic leggings and surprised people gazing out the window at the construction workers who started destroying the other part of the building while we hadn’t made it to our beds yet.  What a week!

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Remember this?  Like every year, the Existenz Maximum week took place in an abandoned building in Leuven, this time the old management buildings of Stella were the place to be.  Unlike last year, I’m no part of the Existenz team anymore, which meant I could fully enjoy all of it!  Of course I never let an opportunity pass by to take photograph or two, so here’s a first small (hmm) selection!

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Recently, we (Existenz that is) organised an exhibition in an empty church in Leuven, together with several other Flemish architecture schools and universities.  We called it ‘Café Exposé’ and I really liked the atmosphere at the exhibition, so I wanted to share some pictures I took.

all pictures taken by me


This is my last post about our project week, I promise!  These pictures were taken during Existenz Maximum, looking at them makes me so happy!

all pictures taken by me

more information here (only in Dutch)

DIY: Existenz’ light elements

what you need:

  • an inflatable ball, something like a balloon or a beach ball, depending on the shape and size you want (we had beach balls with diameters up to 1m)
  • vaseline
  • wallpaper paste
  • a ball of white wool
  • lamp socket, lamp, etc.  (I’m not the biggest hero when it comes to electricity)

what to do:

  • inflate the ball to the maximum and hang it somewhere, where you can easily move around it
  • cover the ball with vaseline, this will make it easier to remove the ball afterwards
  • drench the white wool in the wallpaper paste and start twisting it around the ball, you need to make sure the circles are always around the biggest diameter of the ball, the threads that go around the entire ball will give the needed strength
  • keep circling the ball until the only spots that aren’t covered are triangles of about 3cm wide, our experiments have prooven that this is what you need to get a firm construction
  • let it dry for 24 hours
  • carefully let the ball deflate and get it out of the woolen sphere
  • insert the lamp socket and lamp, and try attaching it  (you might have to be a little bit creative here, sometimes you can find a hole in the construction that can lock in the lamp socket, or you might have to you use some wire or something else)
  • … and your arty farty light element is done!

If you have the space for such a big light element, you can attach several spheres from different sizes to a bike wheel, like we’ve done here.  But you can just drop the bike wheel and use one sphere as an eyecatcher in your room.


March has been all about renovating and decorating the abandonned orphanage in Leuven for our project week.  (More information about Existenz here.) Here are some pictures from the final week before it was finished and the Existenz Maximum Week started.

This is where we held our opening reception, jive initation and cocktail party.

The bar.

The hallway.

The garden.

all pictures taken by me


Kapelle St. Bruder-Klaus by Peter Zumthor, located in the middle of nowhere, inbetween fields.

The breathtaking interior of Zumthor’s chapel.  I didn’t know what to expect from the interior, but it certainly wasn’t this.  A must-see.

Kunstmuseul Bonn by Shultes Frank architects.

Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt.

Siedlung Westhausen and Siedlung Römerstadt from Das Neue Frankfurt.  I enjoyed walking in between the small houses and big trees with their pretty shadows.

all pictures taken by me


Recently I took a little roadtrip along with 50 other architecture students to Frankfurt.  I will show you all of the pictures soon, but this building diserves a post of it’s own.  On our way to Frankfurt, we stopped by the most beautiful museum I’ve ever been to.  Seriously,if you ever get the chance, please visit the Kolumba Art museum of the Archoiocese of Cologne.  It’s designed by Peter Zumthor and the architecture is mindblowing, all of us walked around in awe and totally forgot about what time we had to be back at the bus and where we would find a meal before we got there.











all pictures taken by me

(t)huiswerk: Jan de Muynck

For the second edition of (t)huiswerk (where we portray an architect’s own home), we visited Jan de Muynck.  You can read the article here on page 19, but I’ll give you a short explanation about the concept of his house.  Three of the facades are more or less closed, only the facade facing the neighbouring house is entirely open.  This radical decision has it’s influence on the inside of the house of course, which I hope you can see in the photos.

Hallway on the topfloor, on the left side you see the children’s rooms, which are extremely small and get their daylight  through a sky light.  The hallway is very wide and functions as an extension of the children’s rooms, they play in the hallway and find privacy in their small rooms.

all pictures taken by me


This time, I photographed my friend Liesbeth’s place for the ‘Op Visite’ article in Unité (page 31).  Her interior consists of vintage finds, things found on small markets and in charity shops, and family pieces.  The beautiful painting is by Nele Tas, and is rented through ‘Kunst op Kot’.

P.S. Ik ben nog op zoek naar iemand voor de volgende editie!  Vind je je eigen kot de moeite waard of ken je iemand wiens kot het verdient om in onze Unité te staan?  Stuur me een mailtje met enkele foto’s en wie weet sta jij in de volgende Unité!

DENMARK / day six and seven












A few weeks ago, I travelled through Denmark with many fellow architecture students.  These are my favourite photos of that trip (all of them are taken by me).  Move your mouse on the photos to find out more about what’s shown in the picture.

We started our first day in Aarhus with a walk to the highest point of Denmark (Ejer Bavnehøj), which isn’t very high as you can see in the pictures.  In the afternoon, we visited the Old Town, or Den Gamle By in Danish, which is the National Open Air Museum of Urban History and Culture  (voor de Belgen: het Deense Bokrijk!), and spent the rest of our time sipping coffee and playing Time’s Up, which led to quite a few strange looks among the locals.  In the evening , we returned to our chalets and had a great party: everyone decorated their chalet according to a theme, and made sure they had matching drinks, food and outfits.  Can you guess our theme?  (Tip: we had moustaches and cigars (oh well cigar cookies))

The last day of our trip, we were extremely tired thanks to the amazing party of the night before.  We followed the group though, visiting the Concert Hall and the ARos museum, but the rest of the day was spent on the extremely comfrotable couches of a café where we might have taken a nap or two…

DENMARK / day four and five









A few weeks ago, I travelled through Denmark with many fellow architecture students.  These are my favourite photos of that trip (all of them are taken by me).  Move your mouse on the photos to find out more about what’s shown in the picture.

On our last day in Copenhagen, we visited the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a museum with paintings by Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein, and a gorgeous view over the sea.

The next day, we left for Aarhus and spent the entire day on the bus and ferry.  In the evening we arrived at our hostel, which existed of several little chalets between the woods, next to a lake.  The chalets were so cosy, I really loved staying there!

DENMARK / day three

A few weeks ago, I travelled through Denmark with many fellow architecture students.  These are my favourite photos of that trip (all of them are taken by me).  Move your mouse on the photos to find out more about what’s shown in the picture.

On our last day in Copenhagen, we took an architectural walk with Bo Christiansen (architect for Schaledenmark).  In the evening, me and my friends explored the Nørrebro neighbourhood, and visited a few lovely vintage shops. After our short shoppingtrip and a quick diner, we returned to Soupanatural, for yet another Sofa Sessions.  This time we weren’t such fans of the band that was playing, but we had a great time anyway.  I wish I could show you more of  the cosy atmosphere at this lovely bar, but I try to stay away from exposing my friends on the internet as much as possible.  But if you’re ever in Copenhagen, you should definitely stop by Soupanatural, it’s at Skt.  Peders Stræde 31, in a cellar.

A few weeks ago, I travelled through Danmark with many fellow architecture students.  These are my favourite photos of that trip (all of them are taken by me).  Move your mouse on the photos to find out more about what’s shown in the picture.

DENMARK / day two

A few weeks ago, I travelled through Denmark with many fellow architecture students.  These are my favourite photos of that trip (all of them are taken by me).  Move your mouse on the photos to find out more about what’s shown in the picture.

Day two started with some free time in the morning, which we used to visit the Dansk Arkitektur Center.  Unfortunately this was closed (they were preparing a new exposition), so we just spent our time in the beautiful bookshop.  After a quick stop at one of the many Lego shops, everyone meeted at the Danish Design Center, where we spent the entire afternoon.  The evening ended in Soupanatural,  a bar with organic soups and beer.  Every Sunday, this bar has an event called ‘Sofa Sessions’, where small bands will play an acoustic set.  This night we were very lucky:  A key is a key gave an amazing performance and all 57 of us became big fans!

DENMARK / day one

A few weeks ago, I travelled through Denmark with many fellow architecture students.  These are my favourite photos of that trip (all of them are taken by me).  Move your mouse on the photos to find out more about what’s shown in the picture.

The first day of our Denmark trip was spent in Copenhagen.  We took a big walk around the old center of the city, while passing some cool new buildings as well, and ended the day with a delicious dinner at BioMio.


I’ve showed you all the articles in Unité that I worked on… I figured I should show them in print aswell, so here they are!  I hope you enjoyed all my enthousiasm about this first issue, now it’s time to start working on the next one and hope it’ll be at least as good!


In this old factury, originally used for retting flax, Joke Vermeulen & Francis Catteeuw of compagnie-O. architecten are working to transform it into their home.  8 years they’ve been working on this amazing project, and in a few months, it’s finally supposed to be finished.  With Unité, we got a sneek peak  for oursection (t)huiswerk, where we visit architects in their homes.  The story behind this project is very interesting, and can be found in our first issue on page 13, although only in Dutch.  It’s too much to translate (or even summarize), so I will leave you with these pictures.  I hope they speak for themselves, because I’m extremely excited about this project!  The view is amazing, and I love that it’s so pure and industrial, while still being one with the environment.


all pictures taken by me for Unité


One of the sections in Unité is called ‘op visite’.  In this section, we visit a student and photograph where they live.  For this first edition, I visited Sarah from La fille de Joujouelle.  Her room is stuffed with great finds from flea markets or thrift shops and gifts from her family.  The result is amazing, anyone would love to live there!

all pictures taken by me

Unité #1

So… Time has come to tell you about what has been consuming all my free time lately!

This year, I’m part of Existenz, which is a group of students from the first master of architecture in Leuven.  All year, we work towards our Existenz Maximum Week: we get our hands on an abandonned building in Leuven and completely transform it into architectural heaven.  During this week, we organise workshops and lectures – all of them more or less connected to architecture. (More information about Existenz (although only in Dutch) and the things we do, can be found at our website.)

2010-2011 is the 16th year of Existenz and this year, we’re taking it one step further.  We’ve created a magazine, called ‘Unité’, which will be found for free in all architecture schools in Flanders.    Yesterday the first issue came out, and all of us are so proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Therefor, I present you the on line version of Unité #1.

In the next few days, I will tell you more about the articles that I worked on, but in the meantime, tell me what you think of the overall look!