Boguslaw Witkowski works for the Department of Town Planning, Design & Architecture in Belgium. He comes from Poland where architecture was regulated by extremely strict standards but he has discovered that the same is true here! He wants to create green architecture that respects humans and nature and really generates a respectful attitude towards the natural environment.

Boguslaw Witkowski
Town Planning Design & Architecture

www.tpda.be
bw@tpda.be

Technical sheet of this architecture video clip
Journalist : Emma C. Dessouroux
Cameraman : Emanuel Pinto / EpiProd
Photographies : Mister Emma

Editing : Emma C. Dessouroux / Cristina Dias
Direction : Emma C. Dessouroux
Production : Les Délires Productions

Translation : MDR Translations
Subtitles : Les Délires Productions

English Subtitles

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My name is Boguslaw Witkowski.

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Also known as Bogdan.

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I work for the office of
Town Planning Design & Architecture.

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I took courses to become

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a civil engineer and architect.

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I did my master’s degree
at the Silesian University of Technology,

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in Gliwice, Poland.

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Always driven by a sense of curiosity

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and desire to free myself

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from being tied down
and confined by borders,

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I wanted to leave Poland

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to learn how my colleagues do their work.

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I won some competitions
and was able to leave

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for the first time in ’68.

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Then again in ’69.

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Each time, I had to return to the fold,
because…

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if not…

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you face punishment
from the communist regime.

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But finally, once in ’73,

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I left and never came back.

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I was illegal for three years

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in Belgium.

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I was trying to find out
how you could work there.

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Because for us, architecture was

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regulated by extremely strict standards.

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We couldn’t do anything,
everything was decided for us.

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And, to my horror,
I discovered that there too.

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So I told myself,
that was a misunderstanding.

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Something was wrong, so I was appalled.

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In a number of ways,
after a few years of practice,

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I went abroad, I left Belgium

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as soon as I could.

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And I did

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a few internships,

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I worked in Baghdad,

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for Ricardo Bofill in Barcelona.

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It’s extremely enriching because there,
the attitude of an architect,

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someone so well-known as Ricardo

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and his firm « Taller de Arquitectura »,

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really allows you room to breathe.

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And I came back in ’89

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to start my own
independent architectural firm.

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So there you go.

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I wanted to create green architecture,

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respectful of humans, of nature,

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and to be really

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generating this kind
of respectful attitude

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toward the natural environment.

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We like volumes,

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taking up space with all kinds of designs,

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decorations, paintings,
little sculptures, small statues.

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A small piece of furniture,
a little shelf for this or that.

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The Japanese, in particular,

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don’t have that, you enter a room
and it’s completely empty.

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You slide doors, you discover that inside,

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you have futons, you have blankets,

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they are placed there for you
to spend the night or rest.

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But during the day it disappears again.

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And you are in an empty space again.

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It’s strange. We feel a bit
out of place in this architecture.

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I found that extremely…

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interesting and exciting to deepen this

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relationship between the volume…

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emptiness and functionality of a home.

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In Japanese architecture,
there is this approach

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of being close to nature,
conversing with nature.

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I appreciate that a lot.

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We need to create
a new architecture model that can

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effectively use new spaces

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like agricultural space,

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where we can

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cultivate and feed the city.

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So the city can feed itself

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by means of this urban agriculture.

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But not by creating boxes

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or having floors and floors
of indoor vegetable production.

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It needs to be something more organic.

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I suggested some…

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solutions where there were

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cities spread out with terraces.

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These inhabited hills
had already arranged…

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public gardens, private gardens which are

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extremely vast spaces,
in order to cultivate

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and feed the cities.

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It’s urgent,

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and I intend to devote myself to this

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in the near future.

French Subtitles

1
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Je m’appelle Boguslaw Witkowski.

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Appelé souvent Bogdan.

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Je travaille pour le bureau
Town Planning Design & Architecture.

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J’ai suivi des cours

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d’ingénieur civil architecte

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et j’ai fait ma maîtrise à l’école
polytechnique de Silésie,

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à Gliwice, c’est en Pologne.

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Toujours poussé par cette curiosité
et la volonté

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de me libérer du joug

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qui m’attachait au sol

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et cette frontière, je voulais sortir
de la Pologne pour apprendre

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comment travaillent mes confrères.

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J’ai gagné quelques concours
et j’ai pu sortir

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la première fois en 68.

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Ensuite c’était 69.

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Chaque fois le retour au bercail
parce que…

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sinon…

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punitions par le régime communiste.

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Mais finalement, une fois en 73

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j’ai quitté et je ne suis plus revenu.

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Je suis devenu illégal
pendant trois années

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en Belgique.

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J’essayais de me renseigner,
comment travaille-t-on ici.

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Puisque chez nous c’était, l’architecture

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réglée par des normes
extrêmement strictes.

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On ne pouvait rien faire,
tout était décidé pour vous.

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Et, horreur, j’ai découvert qu’ici aussi.

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Alors je me dis, c’est un malentendu.

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Il y a quelque chose qui ne va pas,
donc je suis révolté.

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En quelque sorte,
après quelques années de pratique

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je suis parti quand même à l’étranger
pour voir, j’ai quitté la Belgique

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dès que j’ai pu.

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Et j’ai passé

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quelques stages,

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j’ai travaillé à Bagdad,

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pour Ricardo Bofill à Barcelone.

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Et c’est extrêmement enrichissant
parce que là, l’attitude d’un Architecte

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avec un grand « A » comme Ricardo

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et son Taller de Arquitectura,

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ça donnait vraiment beaucoup de souffle.

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Et je suis revenu en 89

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pour commencer ma propre activité
indépendante d’architecte.

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Et puis voilà.

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Je voulais cette architecture verte,

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respectueuse de l’homme, de la nature,

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et être vraiment

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générateur de ce type d’attitude

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respectueuse vis-à-vis
de cet environnement naturel.

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Nous aimons bien les volumes

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encombrés de toutes sortes de designs,

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de décors, de tableaux,
de petites sculptures, de petites statues.

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Un petit meuble, un petit support
de ceci ou de cela.

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Les Japonais notamment,

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n’ont rien de ça, vous entrez dans
une pièce, elle est complètement vide.

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Vous coulissez des portes,
vous découvrez que là-dedans,

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vous avez des futons,
vous avez des couvertures,

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mais qui sortent juste pour passer la nuit
pour vous reposer.

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Mais pendant la journée
ça disparaît de nouveau.

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Et vous êtes de nouveau dans un vide.

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Bizarre. Alors nous nous sentons un peu
dépaysés dans cette architecture.

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Je trouvais ça extrêmement…

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intéressant et passionnant d’approfondir

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ce rapport entre le volume…

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vide, et la fonctionnalité
d’une habitation.

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Dans l’architecture japonaise,
il y a cette approche

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de proximité avec la nature,
de dialogue avec la nature.

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C’est ça que j’apprécie beaucoup.

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Il faut créer le nouveau modèle
d’architecture qui puisse effectivement

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utiliser de nouveaux espaces

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comme espaces agricoles,

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où l’on puisse

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cultiver et nourrir cette ville.

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Que la ville puisse se nourrir elle-même

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par cette agriculture urbaine.

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Mais pas en créant des boîtes

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et à l’intérieur produire
étage par étage des légumes.

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Il faut quelque chose de plus organique.

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J’ai proposé quelques…

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solutions où il y avait vraiment

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la ville qui s’étalait sur des terrasses.

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Ces collines habitées disposaient
déjà d’un…

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public déjà, d’un privatif des espaces

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extrêmement vastes pour cultiver

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et pour nourrir cette ville.

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L’urgence est là,

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et c’est là que je compte me consacrer

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dans l’avenir le plus proche.