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Frederik Vandyck

Ir. Arch. Frederik Vandyck is a PhD researcher in the ae-lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He obtained his degree as Master of Science in Architectural Engineering in 2016 and will conduct research on the thematics of the productive city, with a particular interest in the construction sector of Brussels' Canal Zone. 


Master’s thesis

Can type as a base ingredient for mixed-use development strategies serve as a plausible tool for micro-central densification of Antwerp’s suburbs?

Can type as a base ingredient for mixed-use development strategies serve as a plausible tool for micro-central densification of Antwerp’s suburbs?

Date2015 - 2016
SupervisorsHaike Apelt and Stefan Braun

An outcome to the following research question is sought in a designerly research, resulting from a cooperative work between Quinten Dewinter and Frederik Vandyck; ‘Can type as a base ingredient for mixed-use development strategies serve as a plausible tool for micro-central densification of Antwerp’s suburbs?’. This work consists of a scientific research and an architectural design, that should be read as one entity and is written in order to be granted the master’s degree in ‘Master of Science in Architectural Engineering’ at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Bruface in the academic year 2015-2016. 'Triggering Suburbia' starts with the elaboration of the past and current discourse on the thematic of ‘suburbia’, ‘mixed-use development’ and ‘typology’, is followed by an in-depth analysis of existing types for the case of Antwerp and concludes with testing imposed goals, derived from the discourse, by design. The problematic contains the oppressing population growth for the city of Antwerp, in combination with the saturated historic centre and the reluctance towards further sprawl. Therefore, the strategy of intensifying existing or new micro-central places in the suburban fabric seems plausible. The process of intensification involves increased density and mixity. In order to generate diversity, the basic ingredients require to be thoroughly understood. As a type is the ‘end product’ of a process of generalisation, it here is taken as the basic ingredient for mixed development. Generalisation involves a well-chosen set of parameters in order to filter towards the very essence, a type. The current and historic understanding of ways of living or working in suburbia is the very start in composing this set of parameters. The following step is to objectively analyse the existing in order to classify and qualify the different types. When the type is obtained, a mix can come to life. Providing mixity, in combination with increased density, is the process of ‘urbanising the suburbs’ on well-chosen, micro-central places. Analysis has shown that this implementation is most feasible in large-scale greyfields, numerous in the Flemish suburbs. Therefore, the large industrial site of ‘Lageweg, Hoboken, Antwerpen’ is chosen to be the subject to the designerly research of the earlier discussed implementation. The research by design has mainly brought further that the thorough understanding of the qualities of the historic and existing suburban types, is essential to reduce the risk of sacrifising suburban qualities for urban densities. Goals for the parameters of the new are deeply rooted in the standards of the existing, so that the process of urbanisation has a positive impact for both.