MEMA is a new museum typology which meanders through the existing urban fabric and seeks to establish new relations between artwork and public space through minimal architectural interventions.
MEMA heralds the end of the museum as an autonomous icon with white generic spaces and reacts against the existing ‘Baukultur’: a culture of spectacular architecture and continuous allotment of open space. MEMA brings out the qualities and beauty of the everyday. Within this modest architecture, the museum looks for specific spaces to exhibit local art to create an intriguing dialogue and interaction between the space, the intervention and the artwork.
MEMA introduces new perspectives and intervention typologies for vacant spaces that are already present in the city. The museum investigates how minimal or micro-interventions bring about maximum impact, both in the museum and in public space. The intervention is an event of the museum in which actions and collectivity in a neighborhood are improved. The museum manifest itself as a new cultural axis, constantly growing and shrinking, planting seeds and ultimately leaving traces. When the museum continues to meander in the future, it will behind qualitative buildings and public spaces, as It looks to restart the same process in new neighborhoods. These unconventional architectural solutions for the repurposing of buildings go against disposable architecture and the ubiquitous lack of space
MEMA uses Seefhoek and Borgerhout, neighborhoods next to the historic center of Antwerp, as a case study. These neighborhoods are home to a large population of people with a migrant background and are often seen as socially deprived neighbourhoods. Decades of uncontrolled urban planning and chaotic stratification of buildings have left these areas with little qualitative public space and with a large number of buildings declared uninhabitable. Both these neighborhoods and the city center suffer greatly from the quality of the built environment and the unproductive use of urban fabric.