The Master of Architecture and Human Settlements (MaHS) and the Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning (MaUSP) are international postgraduate programs hosted at the Department of Architecture, KU Leuven. Operating at the nexus of advanced research and design, the programs critically address worldwide urban transformation. The MaHS is a highly renowned 12-month programme rooted in inter-disciplinary and inter-cultural design and research. The MaUSP engages for 24 months in immersive urban design, landscape urbanism and urban planning to tackle contemporary urban development and its spatial challenges. Read more

25 May 2016
Call for European Applications!

Applications for the MaHS and MaUSP programs by European citizens are due on 1st June 2016. We hope to welcome you in Leuven our next academic year! For further questions and queries please contact (administrative coordination) or (academic coordination).

24 May 2016
The next economy - OSA at IABR

In February 2016, OSA organized an intensive urban design and landscape urbanism workshop in Houthalen-Helchteren. The workshop results are exhibited at the Architecture Biennale IABR 2016 in Rotterdam as part of an installation by T.OP Limburg and Z33: ‘Het Kolenspoor getest’. Atelier Houthalen-Helchteren reflected on envisioning new coalitions along the Coal Track, for a contextual energy and materials transition as catalysts for Limburg’s next –circular- economy. Please join us on June the 1st at the IABR in Rotterdam for the presentation of the workshop results! More details on the workshop are available here, more info on the visit can be found here.

2 February 2016
Map of the Month: Occupying São Paolo

The map Occupying São Paulo by MaUSP students and OSA research group received the third jury prize in the category “maps on paper” at the International Cartographic Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro. The map uncovers vacancy as a diversified spatial phenomenon in the city's historic centre, and some of the different ways in which building occupations are transforming life in the city. More details available here.

1 February 2016
29 January 2016
In memoriam: Prof. Sandi Siregar
16 January 2016
Launch of Bungamati Rebuilding
7 December 2015
Waste of the City/ The City of Waste
16 October 2015
Dirty Antwerp: BWMSTR Label 2015 to MaUSP research
13 October 2015
CADES Lectures are back
21 September 2015
Opening of the academic year
20 September 2015
MaHS-MaUSP in Nepal
Upcoming events
Recent studios
Spring 2016
Antwerp 20th Century Belt
From Boredom to Urbanity

Bruno De Meulder, Racha Daher

The 20th century belt of Antwerp urbanized mostly in an impulsive wave after the second world war. Well planned for the mediocre Belgian planning standards, it simultaneously is a quite monotonous, predominantly residential area that lacks the density to generate urban intensity and is to dense to conserve suburban qualities that seem to remain the social consumption norm of the spoiled middle class. The 20th century belt is basically boring. The housing stock urgently requires reinvestment and its often oversized but simultaneously underdeveloped infrastructure. The required large growth of the Antwerp housing stock in the coming two decades has to find a place here, since the city of has no left over space and its inner city only offers limited expansion opportunities. Canalizing a new development wave that extends over the 20th century belt of Antwerp offers the possibility to rethink both housing and infrastructure, to anchor new developments on what is worthwhile and to radically alter the tissue. Otherwise said, the densification of the 20th century belt is a golden opportunity, not so much for an operation of optimalization, but for a radical requalification and redesign towards an urban environment for the 21st century.

Spring 2016
Kathmandu Valley reconstruction:
A pilot project for post-earthquake Bungamati

Stefanie Dens, Annelies De Nijs

On 25 April 2015 a 7,8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The hazard has destroyed most of the traditional settlements and monuments in Kathmandu Valley, leading to major displacement streams. A daunting reconstruction challenge lies ahead. Settlements require a sustainable development strategy that incorporates earthquake responsive tactics. Studio Kathmandu joins the UN-Habitat coordinated reconstruction and delivers the action plan that is developed with the local community. Urban design investigations result in re-development strategies that take into account not only the genius loci, local housing traditions and construction techniques but also (new) livelihoods, heritage and knowledge. Strategies operate on different scales and across sectors and address ecological as well as economic aspects, dealing with typological transformation as well as with water management, sanitation and waste collection. Tailor-made and coproduced redevelopment strategies are translated in strategic projects for key areas. In this framework Bungamati, a Newari town that finds its origins in 600 AD that was badly hit by the earthquake, is chosen as a pilot project for a contextualized reconstruction process. The studio is run in collaboration with UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the Arcadis Shelter Program.

Spring 2016
São Paulo
Requalifying Infrastructure, Redefining urbanism

Eliana Quieroz Barbosa, Patricia Capanema Fernandes

São Paulo is full of dichotomies and contradictions. Regardless of sites and locations, everywhere, everything goes vertical whereas the city presents itself as an urbanized horizontal carpet. Its center is marginalized whereas its margins are occupied by booming centralities. Speculative real estate development destroys well-functioning neighborhoods and erases traditional typologies, with monotonous apartment blocks. 30% of Sao Paulo’s housing units remain however substandard. Mobility Infrastructure provision has been deficient while around 23 million people commute daily, using inefficient infrastructure that occupies environmentally sensitive areas such as floodplains. Today, however, after a decade of pervasive real estate speculation and amongst others a related collapse of the water system, the opportunity arises to reclaim the floodplains, while re-considering patterns of urbanization. The landscape urbanism studio proposes to unravel the city´s dichotomies by exploring how mobility infrastructure and landscape features could work together in the future development of the city. The studio is run in collaboration with McKenzie University and the NGOs SOS Mata Atlântica, and Parque Minhocao.

Fall 2015
Living on the Edge
Re-assembling the Brussels/ Flanders border by means of density and diversity

Viviana d’Auria, Tine Van Herck, Verena Lenna, Burak Pak

At the edge of the Brussels-Flanders border lays a landscape of incongruities and opportunities for designing the city of the 21st Century. Today large-scale, high-rise social housing estates of the seventies are trapped by the contradictions of their in-between position at the edge of both sides. The design studio takes up the challenge of re-thinking the role of these dwelling environments within an enhanced metropolitan condition. Five sites stretching from the 20th century expansion of Brussels into Flanders are a starting point for the studio exploration, rooted in a multi-dimensional and relational understanding of socio-spatial processes. With a focus on densification and diversification, the studio’s ambitions resonate with on-going interrogations about new ways of living together, not only in the “small world city” of Brussels, but also in the atypical and nebulous metropolis that surrounds it.

Fall 2015
Socio-spatial development strategies fro Oostende's East Bank

Frank Moulaert, Jan Schreurs, Tim Devos, Seppe De Blust

During recent years, the coastal city of Oostende has been planning considerable urban transformation in its Eastern districts, including new housing projects, infrastructural works, economic restructuring and construction of a greenbelt. These transformations will affect the neighborhood ‘Vuurtorenwijk’. The city has the ambition to empower this area to develop its assets and cope with pressures of gentrification, loss of jobs and changes of public and commercial facilities. Through analysis, action and participation and together with the planning and research office ndvr, the city and neighborhood committees, the studio will explore how socio-spatial planning strategies can inform the formal planning process.

Fall 2015
Upcycling Limburg
Samples of transition along the coal track

Julie Marin, Erik Van Daele

This studio engages with the government’s agenda to revive Limburg’s (partially) abandoned coal track as a regional ‘connector’ and ‘collector’ of soft mobility, recreational and economical connectivity, but also as ecological corridor and ‘smart’ distributor of recovered resource flows (heat, water, energy, …). Through systemic design, two local development plans along the coal track will be envisioned within Central-Limburg’s ambition to be a forerunner in the transitions towards a less resource-dependent region.