As an architect in private residential, Vincent Delfosse specializes in renovations and construction in Brussels, the south of the country, and even abroad. In this article Vincent explains how COVID has changed the scope of architecture - from people stuck at home and looking to renovate - to a lack of materials. He explains that although this has been a year like no other, it has been an enriching experience for him.
Tell us more about what inspires you?
When I start off a new project to renovate or build a new home, I am always inspired by the place and its space. Understanding the context is crucial. Rather than trying to impose a new vision, my inspiration comes from a sensation and what makes this site unique.
Travelling has allowed me to appreciate the importance of celebrating the architecture in its context, its reality, traditions and evolution. It’s certainly not the same to build in Chicago, New York, Brussels or Paris! The same principle applies across villages and regions, they all share a unique history and identity.
As an architect, I am sometimes confronted to question modernist architecture. In this case, I always refer back to the Antique era, and more specifically the humanist and vernacular side of architecture. I learnt this through the teaching of an exceptional American architect, who I was lucky to meet many times. Robert Venturi, rejected the purely functional and minimalist approach found in modernist architecture. He built the extension of the National Gallery in London and won the Pritzker Prize 1991. His work and his teaching on architectural composition, showing how a rich complexity added interest to the built environment, are still enormously influential.
How has COVID changed the scope of architecture?
All levels of construction have been affected by the coronavirus, from shortages in materials, to day to day operations, and prices.
Construction sites take more time, sometimes because materials are delayed; this has also led to the increase in prices of certain materials such as metal and wood.
At the same time, working from home has led many homeowners’ to invest in improving their home. As they spend less on travel and other leisure activities and look to invest more in renovation, construction companies have quickly been saturated by the number of projects.
Covid has also had a big impact on permits granted by public authorities in Belgium. Whilst working from home has led urbanism services to examine permits more quickly for small renovation, bigger works which require a public inquiry and a commission to come to agreement have been put on hold.
I am lucky I am working on projects that have already been granted a permit but with many construction sites being delayed, I worked my way around and dedicated more time to providing architecture advice. I thoroughly enjoy the experience of planning projects with clients and creating sketches for their new projects.
If you are looking to connect with Vincent, feel free to reach out to Vincent (email: email@example.com and website: https://cargocollective.com/vincentdelfosse/Accueil-1)