De volledige Studieopdracht voor de Conceptuele Uitwerking
van een Geïntegreerd en Omvattend Cultuurtoeristisch Project
‘Herinneringspark 2014-2018’
in de Frontstreek (Westhoek)
Open Oproep 18-2009

The Westhoek region was the epicenter of WWI, one of the greatest moments of transformation imprinted on this landscape, which is now approaching its 100th anniversary. This landscape can be considered today as a piece of territory which has kept the spirit of those who died here, and especially of those who rebuilt it. On one the hand one envisions the creation of a cultural thematic park, where war is the central theme, and on the other hand, one seeks the notion of evolution, in order to create sustainable long-term territorial solutions.

Landscape is here understood as the group of marks left in the territory by diverse communities, over imposed as marks of the genesis of the territory itself, and those left by the transformations which the living community is unaware of. These marks are transformed through several evolutional processes, defined by each generation, which have natural emotional repercussions.

The development of this project, with the notion of Park as the central theme, is an opportunity to demonstrate Landscape as a process. The approach is an opened and transversal territorial model for the area of intervention, which seeks the genetic code of the landscape, and at the same time, guarantees more readings and interpretations to the site.

It is settled a dialogue between Remembrance (the scars left by the war, and their meanings) and Oblivion (evolution settled by daily life in this territory), which is the starting point for the proposal we present.

Time is understood as the sculptor of the landscape; Limit as the notion that presides the evolution of the territory; Art as an efficient tool for creating emotional attachment to the physical space; and Layering as a point in the line of the evolution of the landscape, which allows both physical and temporal compression.

There are three main elements defining this work: Gates, temporal switches, which mark the points of arrival at the park; Connections, linear structures, which link the gates to important sites; and Existing Sites and New Sacred Places, moments of celebration in the park and, once more, of temporal compression. One also presents thematic approaches as means of exploring the park itself: art, memory, gastronomy, ecology, photography and landscape.

The 100 year period of time defines a juxtaposition of two different calendars (1914-1918 and 2014-2018), both working as open platforms, which could run in parallel, replacing each other by a great variety of switches. Remembrance and oblivion procedures can find in these switches means of expression; whether they are physical manifestations or more abstract ones.

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