Paul Robbrecht and Hilde Daem have been active as architects in the Belgian city of Ghent since 1975. Their work moves between the local traditions of Flemish building and a cosmopolitanism acquired, in the main, as a result of their collaborations with international artists on exhibition and museum spaces. Their thirty-five years in the profession are enough to reveal a mature body of work attentive to context and local technique, yet one aimed at going beyond the frontiers of their country. Their buildings address different typologies, from cultural buildings, spaces for art and public spaces to conversions of old offices, in which painstaking construction with traditional materials and schemes that are simple in layout and of great spatial richness inscribe their work within a certain central-European tradition of the ordinary.
This number of 2G presents eighteen projects by Robbrecht en Daem, fifteen of them built, which extend from public spaces for various Belgian cities (Antwerp, Ghent and Knokke) and urban amenities of major importance like Bruges Concert Hall to small projects inserted in the landscape, like a cabin the woods, a pair of observation towers and a dovecote. The works are preceded by two critical essays by British architect William Mann and the current Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, Iwona Blazwick, and are rounded off by a thinkpiece by Paul Robbercht himself about the relationship between painting and architecture.