Study day organized by La Loge in the framework of Le Réduit by Sven Augustijnen
10:00 to 12:00
Visit of ACOS IS/CA (Centre de Documentation historique des Forces armées / Centrum voor Historische Documentatie van de Krijgsmacht)in Evere, Brussels
The tour, in presence of Sven Augustijnen, Johan Lagae, and archivist Jeroen Huygelier presented the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the functioning of the military archives, as well as into the archival research conducted by Sven Augustijnen on the occasion of Le Réduit.
12:00 to 13:00
Lunch with participants
13:00 to 16:00
Workshop: Colonial Infrastructures & Architectural Sources
The workshop brought together master and PhD students in architecture to discuss the potential of the architectural sources unearthed by Sven Augustijnen on the occasion of Le Réduit, an archival exhibition that retraces the history of a military base and a governmental city, to serve as refuge,in Kamina in the post-war era. Special attention will be given to the collection of architectural drawings of the built structures in Kamina and what they can disclose about the métier of design in the bureaucratic milieu of the colonial administration, such as Département des Travaux Publics.
Johan Lagae situated the project of Kamina in a larger narrative of the representation of colonial power in Congo, linking the narrative of Kamina to the one of the troublesome construction of a new residence of the Governor General in Kinshasa/Leopoldville.
In addition, the workshop included some contributions by researchers working on issues relevant to the discussion, such as the introduction of concrete technology in the Belgian Congo by Robby Fivez (PhD candidate, Ghent University), the fortifications of Shinkakasa near the city of Boma, constructed in the late 19th century on the Congo river by Willem Bekers (Phd candidate, Ghent University), and the bureaucracy of the architectural design practice in 20th century architecture and its sources by Ricardo Agarez (Postdoc fellow, LUCA/KULeuven).
19:30 to 21:00
Public lecture by Johan Lagae. Colonial Infrastructures. Notes on Politics, Building and Bureaucracy in the Former Belgian Congo.In the last three decades, colonial and postcolonial architecture in Africa has become a major topic of interest in architectural history. Since the introduction of insights of postcolonial theory in architectural historiography in the early 1990s, scholars have engaged in investigations of how urban form and built environment in colonial territories are linked to the particular politics and policies of colonialism. So far, however, most attention has gone to those sites and projects that stand out as remarkable architecture, to the extent that the argument of the colonies being a “laboratory for modern architecture” has become a major trope in scholarship. In this lecture, Lagae argued that even if fascinating architectural projects have been designed for and built in Congo, both during colonial times and after independence, much is to be gained by focusing on the more mundane built environment, and by taking seriously the production and métier of the often anonymous and bureaucratic architects employed by the colonial administration.
Johan Lagae is Full Professor at Ghent University, where he teaches 20th Century Architectural History with a focus on the non-European context. He holds a PhD on colonial architecture in the former Belgian Congo and has published widely on the topic, as well as on modern architecture, colonial built legacy and urban history in Central Africa, and on colonial photography.