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A Studio for Orbanism – Luc Deleu & T.O.P. office

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Sofie de Caigny Tine Poot Vlaams Architectuurinstituut (VAi)

T.O.P. office 2019, Foto: ©Christine Clinckx for M HKA

The house of Luc Deleu, the founder of T.O.P. office, in the city of Antwerp (Belgium), is not only a design studio and home for the architect. Above all, it is a space of accumulated knowledge: a kaleidoscope of collected references and an archive of drawings and models produced over more than fifty years.


In 2020-2021 this ‘orbanist’ universe – the term ‘orbanism’ was coined by Deleu as a vision for a global urbanism – became the basis for an interuniversity educational project, when the Flanders Architecture Institute digitised the archive of T.O.P. office. Five groups of architecture students were invited to develop a project based on the office’s immaterial knowledge by producing a storyline following objects found in the archive. As a result, a virtual studio space emerged that cumulated different sets of tacit knowledge.

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Sofie De Caigny is director of the Flanders Architecture Institute and visiting professor at the Faculty of Design Sciences of the University of Antwerp. She holds a Ph.D. (2007, University of Leuven) in architectural history. She publishes on contemporary architectural culture in Flanders, with a special focus on architecture and memory.

Tine Poot is consultant design at the Flanders Architecture Institute and project leader of the Future Plans-project (2020-2021) which celebrated 50 years practice by architect-artist Luc Deleu & T.O.P. office. The project culminated in a publication, exhibition, documentary and two educational projects Futurum and a Studio for Orbanism