Because of our renovation plans, I’ve become more interested in architecture and design. This exhibition about Le Corbusier at the MAS in Antwerp definitely piqued my interest.
About the MAS, Antwerp
I always enjoy a chance to go the the MAS or Museum Aan de Stroom. This iconic block of red sandstone and undulating glass is worth a visit, if you’re ever in Antwerp. There are always a couple of free exhibitions and there’s a great rooftop view. Though, in my opinion, it’s also worth observing the surrounding buildings and the river Scheldt through the curved green-tinted windows of the interior.
Museum Aan de Stroom is Dutch for Museum by the river. Aptly named, since it’s located on Antwerp’s main river: the Scheldt. It’s located in the disctrict Het Eilandje (the island), which is north of the city centre. It’s just outside of the city centre, you can easily walk from the train station (takes about 25min) or take a tram from the shopping streets in the centre.
The museum itself is an example of postmodern Art Deco architecture. Which is probably why I like it so much.
About the exhibition: Le corbusier. Linkeroever – Chandigarh
Le Corbusier is probably best known as one of the pioneers of modern architecture. Think reinforced concrete, large glass windows, steel and a minimal style. Le Corbusier was also passionate about urban planning, he wanted to create the ideal city – a Ville Radieuse.
His Ville Radieuse concept was everything the current historical city centres are not. Instead of dark, winding little streets, Le Corbusier wanted green open spaces, with plenty of room for pedestrians and high skyscrapers. Orderly and intentional city planning opposed to the organically formed medieval cities.
How does this tie in with Linkeroever (Antwerp’s Left Bank district) and Chandigarh (capital city of Punjab, India)?
In short: Le Corbusier got to try out his Ville Radieuse in Chandigarh but not in Linkeroever, as he initially planned. In 1933, the city of Antwerp organised an urban planning competition to create a modern city on Linkeroever. Le Corbusier participated but didn’t win. In fact, no one won as the city council decided to withdraw the competition. There were too many innovative ideas send in while the city was hoping for more practical plans.
Twenty years later though, Le Corbusier got the chance to fulfill his Ville Radieuse in Chandigarh, India. It was the first planned city in India and to this day, this bustling capital city is still being expanded with Le Corbusier’s philosophy in mind.
For Linkeroever, the city of Antwerp is still developing new plans to make this district more attractive for residents. With more green, open spaces and necessary facilities for comfortable living. Sounds familiar?