Pieter D’haeseleer


When I was in New York, about three years ago, I packed my suitcase with 10 kilos of rough woven flax canvas for a painter friend, about six to seven kilos of books and some residue: I was wearing the most of my clothes in the airplane. One of the books was “Voyage au bout de la nuit”, from Louis F. Céline, because some chapters concerned his journey in New York. The book starts with: “Ça a débuté comme ça. Moi, j’avais jamais rien dit. Rien. C’est Arthur Ganate qui m’a fait parler. Arthur, un étudiant, un carabin lui aussi, un camarade.”  The first word, the first sentence, puts you immediately in the middle of his semiautobiographical novel. This text is much more modest in its intention: explaining what, how and why I have been working on a project, concerning these two years in Transmedia. I gave Céline’s book as a present to a friend in NY.

The architectural degree. Going to school is a good time to learn your classical basis. There is not much more, I think, a school can do. They offer you a method, a positive way how to look at things, yet far from innovating or reactionary critique. Most of the valuable information is to be found in libraries or crisis’s, real life experiences. It is the place where you start appreciating to play a game of chess from the masters.

The New York experience.
There is a lot to say about that, yet the important thing for this issue is that there was a discrepancy, and an inability to investigate and to translate a given
situation into adequate architecture. Instead of just doing a job (I was working for some architectural offices in Manhattan at that time) I chose to work for the Belgian T.O.P. office, an architectural practice, closely related to art practices, since it explained programmatic and formal decisions on a rational theoretical basis of calculations, figures, diagrams, etc.; as a result, a lot of intuitive inexplicable results were achieved.

A lot of architects can recognize architecture, but most of them don’t have time for it. It takes a lot of time to even start getting what architecture could possibly mean.