Talk/Debate: Mediating InfraStructures—Cultural Centers


Date: December 3rd 2015

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Mediating [Infra]Structures—Cultural Centers


common room is pleased to announce:
Mediating [Infra]Structures—Cultural Centers

Mediating [Infra]Structures is a series of talks, debates and workshops that investigates if the proclaimed disappearance of the public sphere can be reassembled in contemporary shared spaces like shopping centers, mass transport hubs and cultural centers.

The third and last topic in the series is Cultural Centers as Mediating [Infra]Structures.

The cultural center was destined to become an ‘open house’ for the community, which appealed to every citizen, and this unprivileged disposition was to be expressed through its architecture. The logic that underlay the deliberate combination of ‘high' and ‘low' culture in one building, was that those who visited the cultural center to partake in—or attend one of the popular, ‘low’-culture activities would ‘stumble across’ the ‘high-brow’ program that the center offered and would thus be ‘culturally educated’. The cultural center was thus to function not only as an ‘educational’ building, but also as a mediating structure, mediating between different societal groups. Taking into account the high aspirations for cultural centers, and looking at the proliferation of the building type since, this Mediating [Infra]Structures event questions if, and if so ‘how' were these aspirations met? Can the cultural center be understood as a mediating structure, and does it take on a relevant social function today?


Mediating [Infra]Structures—Cultural Centers

Monday, December 7—19:00
Théâtre National
Boulevard Emile Jacqmain 111-115
Emile Jacqmainlaan 111-115
1000 Brussels | Map

Martine De Maeseneer
Christoph Grafe
Jennifer Mack
Hans Teerds (moderator)

Martine De Maeseneer is the founder of Martine De Maeseneer Architects [MDMA]. MDMA has been around for two decades of practicing, theorizing and teaching within an international forum of schools, colloquia and competitions. Their (first) public building of a certain scale, the Bronks Youth Theatre in the center of Brussels, was honored in 2011 as the first ever Belgian finalist in the European Mies van der Rohe Award for Contemporary Architecture.

Christoph Grafe is an architect and writer. He is Professor of Architectural History and Theory at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal (Germany) and director of the Flemish Architecture Institute in Antwerp. His PhD dissertation People’s Palaces focussed on the architecture of post 1945 public buildings for culture in general and the building histories of the South Bank in London and the Kulturhus in Stockholm.

Jennifer Mack is a postdoctoral fellow at Uppsala University and researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. She combines ethnography, history, and formal analysis to study social change and the built environment, with current projects on the design of large-scale mosques and churches, the politics of landscape in allotment gardens, and the Swedish town center (centrum).

Hans Teerds is a researcher at the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology, where he is writing a PhD thesis on architecture and the public domain, a theme he approaches on the basis of philosopher Hannah Arendt’s written work.


The public talk and debate on transport hubs will be expanded on by a series of workshops and classes in the framework of the public school for architecture brussels.

Admission is free, no booking required.


For more information on the program visit our website or Facebook.

Mediating [Infra]Structures
is a joint project by common room, Janina Gosseye and City3
in collaboration with the public school for architecture brussels

With the support of:
The Arts and Heritage Agency of the Flemish Community
KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture Campus Sint Lucas

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