The Decline of Deconstructivism in Belgium

Posted on January 28 2015

One would believe that the people of Belgium would be excited about the prospect of a new building going up to become an architectural landmark for citizens, as well as tourists. But the latest construction of the Mons building by Daniel Libeskind has proven to not only fail in adding excitement, but it seems no one actually cares at all. The local populace have even responded with more fervour to the new Ikea that's being built.

Located in the post-industrial urban centre, it's an expression of the basic geometric shapes that construct everything around us. The exaggerated geometric surfaces encompass 41,010 square feet of the International Congress Centre and were designed to connect the old Mons town to its more modern centre in order to improve the flow of traffic and modernise the town as a whole. However, it seems that the seemingly arbitrary-constructed form of the building has done nothing to inspire the people that live in the area.

Libeskind is known for his brand of deconstructivism, which focuses on the manipulation of the structure's "skin", conveying both substance and absence. It is what most would call "controlled chaos", and is uniquely its own. Libeskind's signature style incorporates angular points and canted walls with a variety of natural textures and colours that are allowed to transform into something else entirely. There's no need for preservation of materials to ensure that it remains in its pristine condition; it's the constant change that Libeskind aim's for, and his Mons building is no different.

But the lack of excitement isn't the only one held for Libeskind's work. A deconstructivist sculpture created by Arne Quinze was placed in the city's centre and was supposed to stand for five years. But it was taken down after only five weeks, what with the structure itself being too unstable to allow remaining standing at the risk of passers-by. A new station that was designed to look like a swooping bird is little more than a concrete slab. With Mons trying to upgrade its look to draw in visitors and tourists with a more modern look, it's had their government officials splurging on the big name architects and designers in the business to redo their local buildings for budgets that the town cannot rightly afford, making these projects less valuable than they were originally intended.

For many, the composition of the building can be chaotic and a lot to take in at once, with the ever-changing construction without any straight lines to speak of. More about ambience and less about substance, the Mons building is a complex structure that many of the Belgian people have not taken a shine to. It is possible that the era of Deconstructivism is over, with the citizens more interested in buying their own DIY furniture than walking through a building that doesn't look much different from the contents of an Ikea warehouse exploding.

Link to Libeskind's website for more projects here.

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