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EXPO: Braembuilding

Tuesday, 11 September, 2018 - 17:00 to Friday, 7 December, 2018 - 18:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
VUB, KultuurKafee - braem@vub.be - https://www.vub.be/vub-erfgoed

Expo: BRAEMBUILDING - The rectorate building of VUB and its murals

The rectorate building of Vrije Universiteit Brussel was designed in the 1970’s by the modernist and visionary architect Renaat Braem. Braem’s last masterpiece has become an icon on-campus and in Brussels and was protected as a monument by the Brussels-Capital Region in 2007.

The symbolism of the Braembuilding embodies the values of our university: an open and tolerant worldview, based on free thinking. This is, among others, represented in the elliptical shape of the building, the symbols on the canopy and the colourful murals, painted by the architect himself. These murals, overall more than 500m long, represent – from bottom to top – a story: the creation of the universe and the earth, the origin of life, the development of plants, animals and humans and the ultimate liberation of mankind in an open, free thinking community, after having fought for its freedom.

After almost 50 years, refurbishments are necessary. The university is collaborating with the architecture office Origin Architecture & Engineering, specialized in the restauration of heritage. In particular, we will return to the initial vision of architect Braem: open landscape offices with a wide view on the mural paintings. The original event and meeting space on the first floor is also being restored. As from the end of 2018 the first phase of the renovation works will start. This phase includes ground floor and first floor. The monumental canopy was restored a few years ago.

In the framework of these renovation plans, VUB and KultuurKaffee are keen to draw attention to this architectural gem and its beautiful symbolism.

Jean Cosyn, VUB employee and photographer, has made an impressive series of images highlighting the architecture and the murals of the rectorate building. These photographs are exposed together with a selection of drawings by Renaat Braem, visualizing the original concept of the architect.

Furthermore a selection of photographs and collages from the 1991 exposition “De Vorm en de Verbeelding” (“The Shape and the Imagination”) are shown. These artworks show impressions of the rectorate building by different artists.

As a preview to the restauration of the Braembuilding itself, a movie shows the restauration of the architectural model in the studios of CIVA in Brussels. On the spot, in building D, we’ll also keep you up to date about the most recent developments related to the renovation plans and construction works.

Many thanks to CIVA (Centre International pour la Ville, l'Architecture et le Paysage), to Felixarchief/Stadsarchief Antwerpen, tot he heirs of Renaat Braem and to photographer Jean Cosyn for their cooperation in this exposition.