Architecture as a process of endurance
Belgium, BE; Shanghai, CN

Generiek is an architectural office based in Belgium and Shanghai. It was founded in 2016 and is led by Lorenz Adriaens, Lando de Keyzer and Richard Leung. Their projects adopt a generic grammar of typologies and techniques as a guiding framework to claim and create spaces out of specific sites and contexts. Theory and research forms a core aspect during the design process. This rigour of the thought process is also practised by active engagement in academia through our constant involvement as critics and jurors at universities around the world.


Working towards a transition

Lando and Lorenz met while studying at the University of Ghent while Lorenz and Richard met at the Architectural Association in London. While working for other offices, the first commission of “Cross House” was received and Richard joined shortly after upon completion of his studies. As with many other studios, there was initially the obstacle of keeping up a consistent inflow of projects to sustain our ambitions for the long run. That is why we were still working for other offices for a time before transitioning into a full-time practice.


Rejecting traditional norms

The concept of "design" has always been at the core of our conversations. By that, we mean to say we reject the notion of "design". Within our field, we have constantly witnessed how "design" can be manipulated as an enigmatic clout to boost the ego of the architect into a status of a "master" with detrimental effects for architecture as a whole. Doing so shuts down any transparent conversations about architecture. Thus, the way we design is also the way we practice, straightforward and rational. And to always be wary about over-imposing our creative prejudice on the project. This is not to say that our proposals are not assertive and confident. We have always believed that for a clarity of the whats and whys of a project, a clean and precise plan is especially crucial.


Shifting the focus to quality of work

We try to keep the weekends and evenings free for personal and private time, but the reality is that sometimes work needs to be done during these hours. One of the recurring issues about architecture as a profession is almost an obsession with overworking (probably due to a misplaced illusion of the pursuit of artistic perfection). As such, we have often tried to push for better efficiencies in the way we work while still maintaining our quality of work. As we are split across two continents, we have video calls every few days and discussions through texts even before the pandemic.


A virtual workspace

While we have a physical office space in Ghent, due to the dual-location of our practice, we really see cloud-storage like Dropbox and Google Drive as our workspace. This has actually been advantageous to us as during the beginning of the pandemic, when other offices were switching to work-from-home, our workflow was already accommodated towards a virtual office set-up. At the very beginning of the establishment of our office, we have made it a baseline moral stance that we will pay a liveable wage for every person that works for us. Everybody deserves to live a good life and not just survive. Hence, our team is actually small, but nonetheless efficient, with a very open and horizontal manner of collaboration.


Architecture as a process of endurance

Perhaps the biggest realisation was that the 'ribbon-cutting' feeling of the completion of a project rarely exists, as architectural projects can be such a long process. What we have learned is to enjoy the process of drawing and creating architecture, rather than aim for the shot of euphoria at the end. Architecture as a profession in the end really is more of a marathon than a sprint.


Working towards larger scales

We definitely have big ambitions in terms of having bigger commissions and further developing research and to do both built work and theory simultaneously and complimentarily. At this moment, we are hoping to realise some of the research proposals we have done regarding collective domestic typologies in Flemish suburbia. Our primary interest lies in domestic and the way in which people live their lives, but hopefully, by having projects of larger scales like commercial, office or cultural programs, we could really start exploring other forms of typology while under this theoretical umbrella.

IMG 3274 richard leung


GENERIEK Cross House GENT 049HR richard leung

GEN21 201014 Part2 Collage Slope richard leung

GEN21 200626 Part2 Collage ForestVilla richard leung


Photography Courtesy of GENERIEK

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