An old glasshouse transformend into a studio in the Flemish countryside

A vacant glasshouse converted by a young belgian collective carries a strong message: to resist the drive of building speculation.

This article was originally published on Domus 1056, April 2021

While quarantining in their flat in Ghent, Stefanie Everaert and Theo De Meyer, architects and the founders of the Stand Van Zaken collective, decided to take over a vacant glasshouse in the nearby countryside. In Flanders, obsolete glasshouses are a sign of the crisis impacting a once florid agricultural sector of small family-run farms, now threatened bysuburbanisation and housing developments for city-dwellers seeking the rural idyll. Last spring, the Ghent glasshouse was emptied and cleaned, broken glass was removed and curtains were added to screen solar radiation.

The interior underwent an inhabitation process via a cumulative project of furnishings bridging the divide between the pragmatic and the futile. The furniture is designed and built by Theo, Stefanie and their guests (makers, artists, students, gardeners) and its production flanks the organisation of cultural events and the daily routine of the guests, camping and working in the glasshouse. Serra is currently a project rooted in the pleasures and struggles of cooperation and hospitality, where use is not bound to ownership.

The project speaks to neighbouring farmers, encouraging them to resist the speculative transformation of farmland and, hopefully, its critical and explorative approach will not be embraced by marketing as a means to gentrify the countryside.

Serra – Un Soggiorno Segreto
Stefanie Everaert and Theo De Meyer
Gent, Belgium

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