TV works

Charles Vandenhove

Charles Vandenhove (b. 1927) studied at Sint-Lucas and La Cambre in Brussels and work together with architect Lucien Kroll until 1957. Whereas in Kroll explicitly seeks a ‘participative’, ‘motivating’ architecture ‘of the resident’, Vandenhove puts all of his energy into personal engagement: his working method can be read as an autonomous structuralism with a limited historic language of form. One of his first projects was his own house in Liege, built in 1961, and expanded in 1974 and again in 1989. As early as 1960, he was commissioned to design the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, the academic hospital of the University of Liege at the Sart-Tilman campus. It is a work on which he would continue building until the late 1980s. The hospital has meanwhile been included on the list of protected monuments and is referred to as Vandenhove’s opus magnum by Geert Bekaert. Its basic principle is a system of prefabricated elements, which form the cornerstones of six separate blocks surrounding an imposing glass hall: the ‘architectural system’ is intended to permit the absorption of many changes in plans over the years. Alongside this structuralism is another consistent factor, his collaboration with artists such as Daniel Buren, Sol LeWitt, Jacques Charlier, Marthe Wéry and Léon Wuidar. In 1983, Vandenhove’s work was the subject of the film by Jef Cornelis and Geert Bekaert: Het raadsel van de sfinx (The Puzzle of the Sphinx). In 1985, Vandenhove’s retrospective work was exhibited in Paris, Aachen and Amsterdam. He received large commissions in the Netherlands and is even today building a variety of residential complexes. Some ten books have been devoted to Vandenhove, often with texts by Geert Bekaert and – more recently – Bart Verschaffel. In 2000, NAi Publishers released Charles Vandenhove: Projets/Projecten 1995-2000. [Christophe Van Gerrewey]