2019 Suzan Gelissen - Wijkplaats - Refuge for Remembering
Refuge for Remembering

‘Can a site of memory also be about forgetting?’
Pierre Nova

This project embraces my personal quest for the notion ‘remembering.’ By researching various building typologies I was able to make an innovative assemblage of architectural ingredients. The project contains aspects of a museum, an archive and a mourning center; building types that deal with exhibition and introspection. The main aim of this project is to create distinct and characteristic spaces to accommodate a new experience of mourning, remembering and commemoration. The concept of the building can best be specified as a ‘diptych:’ in which physical object and digital identities are intertwined.

Situated in the new Quartier Blue in Hasselt the historic Malt Tower is the only remaining building in the area. Accommodating a network of routes, a clear orientation and the defining of a square at the entrance, the tower serves as a unique focal point in a completely new urban composition. Expanding the Malt Tower with a horizontal wing, the project signifies the present and the memory of the past. It becomes a marriage between old and new. The building is not only destined for relatives, but also the passerby as well as neighborhood residents.

The interior of the building has been carefully designed to support various architectural routes. Monumental spaces and informal meeting places alternate and offer a romantic approach to the ‘everyday object.’ In the Malt Tower, large cylindrical cabinets stage the physical everyday objects as special and specific whereas in the horizontal wing characteristic spaces are included in which the digital history of individuals can be experienced. Taken together, the network of routes and the connection between spaces supports the memories and stories of life in all its specific everyday experience.

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