«Critical Care. Architecture for a Broken Planet» at deSingel

In 2022 the theme for the architecture programme is care. With this broad theme, the Flanders Architecture Institute and DE SINGEL are focusing attention on the particular impact of care on the built environment.

Emergency Architecture & Human Rights (EAHR): 100 classrooms for refugee children, Za’atari Village, Jordan, 2017 © photograph: Martina Bo Rubino

Care is about cherishing, maintaining and securing for the future. Architecture that cares sets itself apart due to its empathy for the context, the users and the makers. Caring architecture considers the long term and is critical with regard to human activity on the planet.

Practical info

«Critical Care. Architecture for a Broken Planet»
May 28 – September 11, 2022
Desguinlei 25, 2018 Antwerpen,

The exhibition Critical Care: Architecture for a Broken Planet, which was first shown at the Architekturzentrum Wien, is a plea for greater care and collaboration in architecture. After Vienna, Zürich, Dresden and Berlin, it comes to DE SINGEL. A second exhibition, Care for Space for Care, links the international case studies from Critical Care to nine projects from Flanders and Brussels. In both presentations, mutual dependence, maintenance are the anchor points for the further exploration of care in architecture.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha and MMBB Architects: SESC 24 Maio, São Paulo, Brazil, 2017 © photograph: Ana Mello
Colectivo 720: Unidad de Vida Articulada Orfelinato, Uva de La Imaginacíon, Medellin, Columbia, 2015 © photograph: Sergio Gómez

A planet in crisis. The earth in intensive care. Man-made environmental and social catastrophes are threatening to render the planet uninhabitable. The situation is critical and, dominated by the interests of capital, architecture and urbanism are caught up in the crisis. The exhibition ‘Critical Care’ shows how architecture and urbanism can contribute to repairing the future and keeping the planet and its inhabitants alive.

The exhibition ‘Critical Care’ is an appeal for a new approach, for a caring architecture and urbanism. 21 current examples from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, the USA and Latin America prove that architecture and urban development do not have to be subservient to the dictates of capital and the exploitation of resources and labour.

Lacaton & Vassal, Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin: Lacaton & Vassal, Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin: Transformation of 530 apartments, Cité du Grand Parc, Bordeaux, France, 2016 © photograph: Philippe Ruault
Xu Tiantian/DNA_Design and Architecture: Tofu Factory, Caizhai Village, Songyang, China, 2018 © photograph: Wang Ziling

The relationships between economy, ecology and work are redefined in each of these projects. The instigators of this care are extraordinarily diverse groups of people: activists, lawyers, anthropologists, artists, but also city councils and companies, working together with architects and planners. Care is always concrete, the specific local conditions are the starting point, as the exhibition shows, including earthquake-proof and sustainable village development in China, flood protection through traditional low-carbon building techniques in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the diverse conversion of modernist buildings in Brazil and Europe, an ecological community land trust in Puerto Rico, the revitalisation of historical irrigation systems in Spain, new concepts for public spaces and mixed urban districts in Vienna, London and Nairobi. The exhibition ‘Critical Care’ shows how architecture and urbanism are helping to revive the planet. The repair of the future has begun.

architecten de vylder vinck taillieu: PC Caritas, Melle, Belgium, 2016 © photograph: Filip Dujardin