Project 1: Water & Social Engagement

How can we restore the connection between citizens and the waterscapes they live in,  in playful and meaningful ways?

A modular floating structure that parades along the canals surveying swimmable spots whilst teaching about water safety to curious citizens in a playful way.

The week of the summer school might have been the warmest week of this Belgian summer. During our breaks, we were in need of a place to cool down from the heat.
In Switzerland, during summer, people in cities such as Basel, Geneva, Zurich and Bern, meet each other at the river to swim, to play, to relax. Strikingly, Kortrijk has a lot of beautiful water landscapes that could serve as swimming places.
However, it is forbidden to swim in the open water. Inspired by the Swiss bathing culture we want to change a risk avoiding mindset that is specific to Belgian culture.

After a week of research, we developed a proposal for an artistic interventionin the form of a floating parade that travels around the waters of Kortrijk.

With this intervention we aim to make the waters of Kortrijk accessible in a playful and conscious way. We wish to reconnect the people of Kortrijk by creating an enjoyable experience at the water, while at thesame time creating awareness on the challenges of these waters, and the risks and responsibility that come along with swimming in the wild.

Project 2: Water & Resources

How might we mitigate the consequences of climate change for local farmers in a sustainable and community focussed way?

A model for using a nature-based filtration systems to collect and reuse rainwater, accompanied by a sculptural fountain to engage and activate citizens.

Our project proposes a potential future where we take the people along an experiential journey of functional green spaces that act a spaces of leisure but also teaches the people of the issues surrounding this area and how simple sustainable solutions can help sustain green spaces in an urban context. From green islands that promote natural infiltration techniques to depressed pools of water that catch rainwater before it runs off a nd evaporates.
Each landscape is connected to the sculptural tap that further filters the rain water caught in this connected system to be distributed to the public for free, but controlled to educate the public
on how high quality drinking water is not an infinite or readily available resource.

When water falls in Kortrijk it is met with mixed emotions of anxiety and relief.

From a region with a history of both drought and urban floods when current systems are overwhelmed. These dual realities open up conversations on how the city’s infrastructure manages excess rainwater and criticises the culture of relentless and unsustainable urban development and its effects. Our journey this week took us all over the city and culminated at the Broeltower steps where concrete landscapes of leisure have left the public unsatisfied with the lack of nature and greenery.

Project 3: Water & Farming

How might we mitigate the consequences of climate change for local farmers in a sustainable and community focussed way?

A modular system for cleaning and filtering water around the farm, paired with a suspended playground which doubles down as a net to catch leaves (main source of water contamination).

When we visited the Heerlijkheid Van Heule, we felt like the quality of water is the main concern for the people working there. One of the workers told us that his dream was to be able to swim in it.

They already tried making a filter made from scrap materials like the barrel of a washing machine, but it broke recently. Because filtering is an important aspect of keeping water healthy, we wanted to make sure our concept had a natural filtering system. We came up with a sustainable floating filter system. The main function would be to filter the water with local water plants, stones and other natural materials.

We also designed extra modules like walking decks, cleaning decks for the crops, decks to catch and clean up the leaves and to play on sunny days. We wanted to bring together the local community and other stakeholders to help work on the project as a social project for the neighborhood to create a fun place to learn, create and play.