Architecture as a political act
Brussels, BE

Traumnovelle was founded by three Belgian architects: Léone Drapeaud, Manuel León Fanjul and Johnny Leya. They use architecture and fiction as analytical, critical and subversive tools to emphasise contemporary issues and dissect their resolutions. Traumnovelle alternates between cynicism and enthusiasm all the while advocating for critical thinking in architecture, distancing itself from current forms of naive architecture and refuses to glorify the mundane.


A cynical response to a competition brief

Traumnovelle is a self-proclaimed militant faction. We founded Traumnovelle in 2015 while we were still at school in Brussels, aiming to maintain and even extend the critical potential and intellectual freedom of the research studio beyond university. Our first project, Ode to Joy, was a cynical response to a competition which asked for solutions to climate change. Ode to Joy interrogated the underlying western-centric views to such a question and broached the question of the European identity.


Architecture as a political act

We like to refer to short aphorisms which guide us in our practice. One of those which most define our approach is "There can be no right answer to a wrong question". Indeed we strongly believe that the role of architecture is to interrogate and shed light upon human societies. Architecture is a political act.


Investigating social and architectural narratives

We try our best to define our own practice by developing an approach which is structured around two main themes. The first is ‘Architecture and politics’, through which we interrogate the spaces of representation of power and citizenship. The second is ‘Ecologies’, by which we investigate the social and architectural narratives which can address humankind's biggest ever challenge. 


Creating productive spaces

Our built practice is oriented towards productive spaces, which we consider an undervalued branch of architectural production as well as a bearer in many contemporary cultural and societal questions which relate to work, power, identity, city-making, mixity as well as global hierarchies and relations to the environment. We recently finished a community advanced engineering office space in Charleroi and are working on an industrial prototyping space and laboratory as well as a coding school and fablab. We aim to prolong this approach in order to contribute valuable and rich productive and work spaces.

TraumnovelleBarbara Salome Felgenhauer SMALL Leone Drapeaud

Photography ©Barbara Salomé Felgenhauer

3 Ode a la joie Leone Drapeaud

14 Ode a la joie Leone Drapeaud

Images Courtesy of Tramnouvelle

a project powered by Itinerant Office

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