Thursday, May 24
“Parish Churches, Then & Now”
Presentation by Architect Roel de Ridder
19.00 Welcome – drinks and tasty refreshments served in the kitchen
19.30 Presentation by Roel de Ridder
Roel De Ridder’s lecture will address the public character of parish churches: then, now and especially the near future in consideration. Parish churches in Flanders are quickly becoming commodities. They are no longer exclusively owned, let alone used by, public actors such as church boards and municipalities. Therefore, the church buildings’ publicness is not self-evident anymore.
De Ridder will explain a couple of perspectives on the typical parish church and its role(s) in 21st-century city centers, suburban districts and small villages. These perspectives will tackle the architectural, the social and the pastoral aspects of church buildings, as well as the relevant planning issues. By doing so, De Ridder tries to unlock the parish churches’ (public) potential, even when the buildings are not (solely) used as church buildings anymore.
Roel De Ridder (1982) is a researcher and a tutor at the Faculty of Architecture and Arts, Hasselt University, Belgium. He is also a lecturer of architectural theory and a tutor at the Faculty of Architecture at KU Leuven (in Brussels and Ghent). He attained a doctoral degree, with a dissertation on The Public Performance of the Parish Church, at Hasselt University (2013). His current research focuses on supporting municipalities and church boards in developing and implementing policies and new architectural schemes regarding the future of church buildings. Since 2012, he is artistic director of the architecture organisation Architectuurwijzer vzw (Hasselt-Genk, Belgium).