Open call: Constructlab – The Arch Zomerwerf Genk

Geschrieben am 07.06.2017
Kategorie(n): ARCH+ news, Ausschreibung, Summerschool, Open Call, ARCH+ campus

Arch Building: August 21st till September 2nd
Application deadline: June 30th


During the summer months of 2017 Construclab moves to the former mine of Waterschei in the industrially coined Limburgian town Genk, Belgium. Living on site, we will construct an inhabitable support structure that can be used as a social, artistic and community-shaping tool. Between the 21st of August and 2nd of September the vault-shaped support structure will be covered with a newly developed brick, invented and produced in our laboratories on site.

Invited by the city of Genk, we are looking forward to create a convivial and inspiring atmosphere on top of the ex-mine - which is to become the Thorpark for development of new and sustainable technologies. Relating to the past and to the future of the site, we propose a popular artistic research method that explores the cycle of plastic and a production process to form it into a standard building brick. We invite 30 enthusiastic participants to join us for the grand finale: building the Arch. Join to participate in the social life and cultural program of the site and to live, build and eat together with us.

Please note that due to the experimental character of the project, our daring ambitions might have to be adjusted during the course of experimentation.

The project

The era of mining and the presence of the company Ford have given strong identities to the city of Genk. Constructlab intervenes in a moment where the search for a new strong identity permits an experimentation and a reflection on visions of the future. A living support structure will be conceived to welcome the public; as a popular space where people of Genk, local associations, artists and scientists meet each other and appropriate the site; as a place to share existing knowledge and to learn new skills. In connection to the research activities already happening and to be established at Thorpark, we propose an applied research laboratory that is situated somewhere between artistic experimentation and public research. It positions itself as a complementary approach to academic scientific models, to deal with new technologies in an accessible and associative way. To try to produce a monumental arch as a result from this collective effort is like wondering physically, if now could be a moment of paradigm shift from the faith in efficiency and productivity to a smaller, transparent production in the city that incorporates deviation and allows change.

The Arch-building

The cumulation moment of the research will be a collective building. We will organise a summer construction site to bring together a large team, composed of locals and international participants. The Arch will be constructed with the building material developed on site. The Arch-building will be accompanied by a nourrishing, refreshing and festive program.

During two weeks, the festival will allow you to:

- Gain basic knowledge of hand tools and practical work

- Enter the plastic transformation processes from waste to building resources.

- Use, adjust and fix the smoky and noisy machines like in Modern Times.

- Inhabit the wooden structure and participate in the raise of the Arch

- Learn complex brick assembling techniques

- Participate in a collective design and creation process

- Collaborate with architects, designers, artists

- Participate in an experimental daily life and discuss ways of living in the city

- Develop a performative element around the building site, its surrounding and the people involved in it (media, music, rhythm, photography, animation, theatre, dance, poetry…)

The group of builders will construct the Arch in a festive and intense moment, to have all energies united before the end of the project and to produce a moment that can be remembered by the citizens of Genk. The construction promises to be an unforgettable and out of the ordinary collective experience!


The workshop is open to all! However, all participants must commit to being present on site from August 21st to September 2nd (2 weeks).
The workshop is limited to 30 participants.
To apply please send us a short CV specifying your background, interests and motivations to participate in the Arch-building, accompanied by a couple of images representing your work and interests, all in a pdf format of maximum 4 pages.

Application deadline: June 30th

Send your application to: thearch[at]

The file should be named : lastname_firstname_application. pdf Note : The construction site will start on August 21st, we will work around 8 hours per day, monday to saturday and sunday off. Each participant must bring appropriate construction site clothing and footwear. Arch-building registration fee is 200€ per person, which includes three meals per day and accommodation (open dorm / camping). For participants coming from outside, the costs of transportation are not included in the participation fee.


Constructlab is a collaborative construction practice and a European network, working on both ephemeral and permanent projects. Unlike the conventional architectural process in which the architect designs and the builder builds, in constructlab the project’s conception and construction are brought together. The construction site is the context in which the project can be enriched by the intelligence of the builder’s knowledge and the unexpected opportunities that occur on site. The designer-builders bring the site to life through their permanent presence, generating new dynamics between people and allowing them to integrate others. This synergy results in a collective work, and gives the building site a sense of place. Throughout its projects, constructlab binds the creative and the practical, thinking and making, and sets the project within a social, environmental and temporal context. It was initiated in 1998 by Alexander Römer and hence invited to a long list of places to collaborate in Europe and around the world. Since 2005 constructlab is a permanent part of the French collective exyzt, who, among many other things, were part of the the Metavilla, the French contribution to the 10th Architecture Biennial in Venice in 2006. Constructlab also collaborated in various projects with different collectives such as raumlabor / Berlin, esterni / Milano, zoom / Grenoble or rebiennale / Venice to mention a few.

The Constructlab hymn

Construction is the first step of inhabitation
a door to the social reality of a particular locus
an amplifier of an already existing potential
a balance between individual desires and collective vision
the practice of a collaborative body
an exercise in engagement
open and accessible to all
as a participatory process
Construction is about embracing all surprises
not only a final form
a tool for communication
not only for the shaping of the material forms that
surround us;
but our imagination towards different futures
A building site is a learning site
a meeting point
a microcosm


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