international workshop: buildings with a social memory

By DOCOMOMO Belgium / October, 10, 2013 / 0 comments

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP | 18.10.2013, 14:00-18:30 | Vooruit Arts Centre, Ghent

strategies of conservation, reuse and reconversion

20131018poster_workshop_Buildings_with_a_Social_MemoryWhat does it mean today to repurpose buildings that were designed to bring people together? How do we reuse and/or reconvert buildings where people used to meet and gather like for instance former workers’ assembly buildings (so-called ‘maisons du peuple‘ or ‘people’s houses‘)?

On the occasion of the centenary of Feestlokaal Vooruit in Ghent, this international workshop will closely examine the ‘social memory’ layer of some specific buildings.
The workshop consists of a series of short lectures of international experts from various fields: an architect, a historian, an arts centre or museum director, a heritage expert, etc. like Kempe Thill architects, Margareta Ståhl, Alain Mélo and Katy Archer.
By making a montage of images and stories, They would like to link the example of Vooruit with similar projects in Europe, although the differences are likely to remain obvious. The aim is to present a kaleidoscopic image of various ‘buildings with a social memory’.

We will explore four topics:

1) Repurposing buildings with a ‘social memory’ as a challenge for contemporary architects
2) Reconversion into an arts centre and artistic Körperkultur
3) Heritage, ‘musealization’ and a sense of nostalgia
4) Community work and alternative social economy

read more:


o word of welcome, Gita Deneckere

o introduction, Hannes Pieters

2.10-4.10 p.m.: SESSION 1
Reconversion: second life for both building and memory?

o Margareta Ståhl: People´s Houses in Sweden – Meeting places for democracy in social development

o Kempe Thill architects: Reconversion as an architectural approach.

o Alain Mélo: The “Maison du Peuple” of Saint-Claude (Jura, France). A survivor between heritage and contemporary culture?

questions & answers (led by Fredie Floré)

4.10-4.20 p.m.: coffee break

4.20-6.20 p.m.: SESSION 2
Visions on heritage and reuse in different countries.

o Katy Archer: The People’s History Museum and other buildings of the UK Labour Movement

o Louise Karlskov Skyggebjerg: A Site of Memory – the history of the Workers’ Assembly Building, its transformation into the Workers’ Museum and the present practice of reuse

o Patrick Primavesi: Festspielhaus Hellerau. Transformations of a Laboratory.

questions & answers (led by Gita Deneckere)

6.20-6.30 p.m.: closing speech

afterwards drink in the Vooruit Café