In the interface of the municipalities of Molenbeek, Jette, Laeken that suffers from high unemployment rates, and the private and exclusive development of Thurn & Taxis we consider the site as a spatial, social and economic bordercondition that was to be challenged. Situated next to the canal, Thurn & Taxis is a large urban area in Brussels that will be undergoing transformation for the next fifteen years.
The site of the biennale represents the first chapter of the largest regional park being created in Brussels. The three hectares of the site of the biennale to the northwest of Thurn & Taxis will gradually extend to a park of 20 hectares in total and will reach out all the way to the canal.
Through our first fieldworks and encounters the recognition of the «as found» qualities on the former railway valley informed our proposition. We saw the site as an inspiring and rare sunken linear space punctuated by bridges to activate. We discovered an impressive network of local actors that contributed to turn the edges of this wasteland into collective gardens, animal farms and a pigeon shelter. Our proposition aimed to support these existing informal practices at the scale of the park Thurn & Taxis. Here a new model of public space that combines the characteristics of a park and local micro farming was tested through the Parckfarm.
Parckdesign is a design biennale of the duration of 5 months, initiated by Brussels Environment that aims to experiment with different ways to make public space in Brussels. In the 2014 edition, we expanded design intervention from built space to Lived Space, stimulating social life in a new urban park. The curatorial team is composed by Taktyk (Thierry Kandjee) & Alive Architecture (Petra Pferdmenges) in association with Jacques Abelman (groundcondition), Eric Dil (cultural project manager), Hidde van Schie (artist).
We set up a public open call for pluridisciplinary teams formed by a designer, a local actor and a regional farmer to realize and activate the Parckfarm around relevant topics. Each team was invited to propose and co-produce an active installation and to organize several events on the site and beyond. A jury of experts evaluated the projects and consciously selected propositions upon their capacity to achieve a successful & durational contribution to the park in the making.
We started up a monthly meeting at the Café Pannenhuis. Momo welcomed all neighbours, farmers, designers and politicians for the duration of an evening once per month. Everyone was invited to contribute to the Parckfarm, to exchange on their project, to propose a local initiative or to help to co-construct the installations. The back-door of Momo’s lead directly upon the site of the Parckfarm and became a delightful open terrace.
Several installations were realized through co-production processes on site. Ruth Plaizier and Ewoud Saeys invited all neighbours to participate to co-produce the animal farm KotKot. The Farmhouse by 1010 a+u relied strongly upon the collaboration with JES/JOTA who involved several young people.
The design of the installations looked for a balance between bricolage and professionalism. It is an integral part of the process of appropriation. Because of their great success, the following seven urban installations exist up to today:
Rather than creating a new building, the team displaced a glasshouse from the Netherlands to Brussels. We appreciate this recycling of an existing glasshouse, but even more their participatory approach, through collaboration with the local association Jes/Yota! in order to involve young people in the team.
KotKot is the Parckfarm’s animal farm, a sustainable housing project for animals in the town that relies on the neighbourhood’s participation.
Beecar is a beehive with five bee colonies in five huts. The bees still collect pollen from the flowers in the park and neighbouring gardens today and therefore produce Parckfarm honey.
The installation invites the public to meet and eat in direct contact with a landscape. The essence of this project is to involve the visitor in the landscape, farming, nature and cooking through shared moments.
The installation draws inspiration from the atmosphere typical of an agricultural fair. The artist refers to it as the installation by the electric rainbow attempts to create new connections between people.
As a continuation of the existing vegetable gardens, every terrace in this vegetable garden is composed of recipes to come and harvest, discover and enjoy.
The project represents the mobile part of the Parckfarm. It is a van that can be turned into a kitchen, a workshop, a cinema and a stage, amongst other things.
Thanks to the implication of the inhabitants the Minister Evelyne Huytebroeck decided on short notice to put up a pre-opening of the Parckfarm five days before the opening. We invited all neighbours & local associations to set up a stand to present themselves, sell food from their culture, and address the topics of the Parckfarm to the visitors. Awaited for many years the pre opening was a large public success. Above all, people appreciated the fact that they could engage with the installations. Besides the artistic installations, several local initiatives invited people to engage. One example is the bread oven that came up during the meetings at Momo’s place. Abdel was and still is inviting everyone to bake their pizza.
The collective Rirbaucout activated the Farmtruck, the mobile part of PARCKFARM, as a tool to interact and share what the festival has produced with the citizens of Brussels. It equally aims to recognize, contribute and disseminate knowledge of experienced farms on the regional level in the Farmparck. For instance, the documented visits at Humana Terra was a mean to make their know-how visible to anyone, while tasting their apple juice in the Farmhouse provided for a delightful encounter with its farmers. Further the design of the BEECAR as a mobile device, allowed for a series of urban events and media gatherings, challenging public awareness on bee farming, and the Parckfarm as an experiment. The team KOKOT introduced SAM DE EZEL in their project who during several weeks walked the city from the Farm Maximilien to provide the Farmparck green waste from the Brusselers.
Too often, design festival addressed only the “creative society”. We believe that the active installations achieve a specific relational aesthetic that addresses a wider public. Through the active involvement of the locals, artists, farmers and international designers, the Parckfarm makes a generous space for everyone.
The success of this biennale as a test comes partly from its public recognition, but before all from the empowerment of the locals to co-produce the Parckfarm Thurn & Taxis. Without Ruth, Tessa, Nadine, Abdel, Marcel, Bernardo … the project would not have been possible as such. Their engagement since the beginning into the production of the Parckfarm made it possible to generate the formal structure vzw Parckfarm T&T that is running the Parckfarm with great success up to today.
We see our role of curator as mediator in the intersection of top down mechanisms and bottom-up local initiatives. Acting in between Molenbeek, Brussels city and Laeken, this project demonstrates the vitality and creativity of its inhabitants to co produce a vibrant public space. In this fragile context, design is an invitation for “the locals to welcome the guests”, thus defend above all the making of public space as a project of hospitality.
film by a local association Repere : Karim Amezian
In association with Jaques Abelman (groundcondition), Eric Dil (cultural project manager), Hidde van Schie (artist)
Technical Assistance: Juliette Duchange, Aline Gayou, Fatima Ben Hazem, Carmen van Maercke
Brussels Environment, Gulledelle 100 – 1200 Brussel
Project Manager; Martine Cantillon
FARMHOUSE: 1010 A+U (Bert Gellynck & Nadia Casabella et Ruta Valiunaite), Jes stadslabo voor jongeren & Yota Jourdin Ben Abbou , Prof. Michiel Dehaene, Stijn Beeckman, Caroline Claus
CUBIOUS: Studenten van KU Leuven Architectuur (Campus Sint-Lucas) & Faculté de Gembloux, Architecture du paysage: Anton Leonov, Celia Tesseur, Valérie Fryns, Claire Dauchy, Mylene Boutelier, Vrain Dupont,
USINE DU TRESOR NOIR: Collective Disaster (Andrea Sollazzo, Valentina Karga, Pieterjan Grandry, Louisa Vermoere)
KOTKOT: Ruth Plaizier & Tessa Poldervaart (Initiation), Architects: Ewoud Saey & Alba Bufo), Maya Langeackens (veterinary surgeon) in collaboration with Jamal, Abdel, Charly, Mohammed, Nadine, Christina, Kwame, Line
BEE CAR: Scrabe (Jacques Dujardin, Yves van Parys, Anne van Eeckhout, Céline Isorez, Christine Baetens, Isabelle Coppée, Nathalia da Costa Maya, Alain Collet)
TABLE PAYSAGE: Jacques Abelman (groundconditions), Eric Dil
ELECTRIC RAINBOW FARMFAIR: Hidde van Schie
FARMTRUCK: Alive Architecture (Petra Pferdmenges concept & design). collective Rirbaucout (Hans Eelens, Grégoire Fettweis & Raquel Santana, design & activation)
RECEIPE GARDEN: Taktyk (Aline) Laurent Trierweiler (monitoring & expert in permaculture)
FOUR A PAIN: Abdel
FARMHOUSE: Tessa, Caroline, Nadine, Christina, Mostafa, …
RECEIPE GARDEN:: Latifa, Moustafa, Nadine, Christina, Sennouni, Phedra, Abdelali, Jorque, Tessa, Guuillermo, Abdelghani, Mohammed, Azziz, Imane, and the childrens of school Tivoli et Bruxelles 2 …
APICULTEURS: Anne, Yves, Berges, Charly, Abdel, Mohammed, …
BASSE-COUR: Ruth, Kwame, Zion, rosa et Roy, Jamal, Nadine, christina, Abdel, Badreilla, Line, …
TCHARMELA: by and for the young of Maritiemwijk
ASBL PARCKFARM T& T
ADMINISTRATORS: Stephanie Bertel, Driss Kasri, Rama Khamal
FOUDING MEMBERS: Petra Pferdmenges, Ruth Plaizier
Academic partner: KU Leuven Architectuur (Campus Sint-Lucas Architectuur Brussel: Common Grounds)
Archiurbain: Mister Emma
Others partners: Dutch Ambassy, Multi-light, Hotel Bloom
Local associations: Vzw Parckfarm T&T, Groepstuin van Thurn & Taxis, Café Pannenhuis, Vzw Repère, Jes & Yota, Embarquement Immédiat, Cultuurcentrum Maritiem, Vzw Rapanui, Buurthuis Libérateurs, School Tivoli, Athénée Royale Bruxelles, vzw Les Petits Mondes, la maison Mosaique, ASBL Rapanui,
Régional Producers: Les Jardins de Pomone, Ferm Nos Pilifs, Brasseries de la Senne, Humana Terra, Les Brasseries de la Senne, Le début des haricots, Centre d’Ecologie Urbaine, Les Potagistes, ferme Chant des Cailles, Permafunghui …
Artistic partners: Recyclart, Kastelli, Canal Playground, Curohall, Couleur Café, Sirop Fabrik, Aquapoia, Open Kitchen, Les ateliers de Castel, Curiosita, Little Food, Wildlife, Plein Open Air, NOH, Les Abattoirs, Sirop Fabrik, Les ateliers de Castel, …