House for Seasonal Neighbours

Contributors: Ciel Grommen & Maximiliaan Royakkers

How to create a space where seasonal neighbours can enjoy free time and take part in the the local community?

During the picking season in Belgium, seasonal workers meet weekly on one specific spot at one specific time: around 5pm at the local discount supermarket. This place was celebrated during the summer of 2018. In Borgloon, a small town in the heart of the Belgian fruit region with the highest concentration of seasonal workers (1/5th of the population), a mobile unit was installed.

It is a house designed and built by Maximiliaan Royakkers and Ciel Grommen as a public space for a private time. Two regional archetypes, the row house and the container house, are rescaled, skewed and overlapped to form a familiar but simultaneously alienated hybrid. The resulting Mobile Unit will be dropped as a temporary guest into the existing urban fabric or become a strange comical fragment in the generic parking environment, to serve as a symbol for a hybrid social living environment in which notions of home and hospitality are being questioned and operates simultaneously as generator and archive for discussion.

During 65 days, the maximum period ascribed by Belgian law for seasonal workers in agriculture, it descended in a field bordering the supermarket and served as a place for refuge and otherness, open for everything except work. It was a place for gathering amongst seasonal neighbours, for coffee meetings, for taking selfies and ultimately for an open conversation about the changing living conditions in the rural region of Hesbaye today. Three events were organised to actively invite permanent and seasonal inhabitants in. (For pictures check the archive in the Calendar page ︎︎︎)

A collaboration of vzw Heisa! and Jeugdhuis ‘t Biejke, with the support of Advokatenkantoor Orij, Boerenbond, stad Borgloon, z33 and Flacc.

contact: ; +32 476 37 65 45