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 September 2017
Opening Lecture

We are proud to announce the opening lecture for the 2017-2018 Academic year entitled ‘Arrival Lobby’ by the Amsterdam based architect Lada Hrsak!

29 June 2017
IV World Urbanisms

From Thursday 29th of June to Saturday 1st of July our Department of Architecture organizes the World Urbanisms Seminar for the fourth consecutive time. This seminar bundles a series of diverse urban contexts in the world that form the subject of a debate, mainly built on the thesis work of the Master students of Architecture (MIRA) and the studio and thesis work of the students of the Master of Human Settlements (MaHS), Master of Urbanism and Spatial Planning (MaUSP), European Master of Urbanism (EMU) and ongoing PhD research. See the full program here.

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20 February 2017
Call for non-European Applications!

Non-European applications are due to the 1st of March! See the application details here.

31 January 2017
Post-Doc researcher for the international Master of Human Settlements (MAHS)
11 November 2016
Bungamati Action Plan at UK Shelter Forum London and ASF Lyon
14 October 2016
MaHS alumni Olga Peek + Nelson Carofilis won 2nd prize at the CIU Habitat competition.
25 May 2016
Call for European Applications!
24 May 2016
The next economy - OSA at IABR
2 February 2016
Map of the Month: Occupying São Paolo
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
Recent studios
Fall 2017
Alternative futures for the Antwerp Airport
Participatory Planning

The planning studio of 2017 focuses on the future of the Antwerp Airport, a small airport located in the southeast of the inner city. Various local activist groups, experts as well as some local politicians are questioning the future of this airport, as it is surrounded by residential areas, and emphasise the fact that the airport is essentially in a deficit, and survives solely because of subsidies by the Flemish Government. Nevertheless, recent investments have been made to enlarge the runway and build a new arrival hall. Recently, the initiative ‘Vliegerplein’ was established, a so-called ‘citizen-platform’, which aims to bring together the different voices and initiatives opposing the existence of the airport. Vliegerplein wants to start a dialogue and investigate positive alternative futures that are economically, ecologically and socially sustainable, for what could become ‘a fantastic open space of 190 ha’. This embodies a switch of strategy, as in the past the activist groups have been mostly focused on the ‘legal battle’ against the airport. In this studio we, together with the socio-spatial research office Endeavour, collectively investigate how we can support Vliegerplein in developing a vision and strategy to broaden their outreach and impact, create new coalitions, encourage others to envision alternative futures for the airport, and trigger a process of ‘re-commoning’ the space.

Fall 2017
North Side Stories
Concepts and Analysis
Fall 2017
HH: NS / EW - Limburg
Spring 2017
Reviving territories of hydraulic civilization
Design explorations in the Jiangnan transect of the Yangtze River Delta

China has undergone major ‘catch up’ development at an exponential growth rate in the last few decades. This has come with major environmental degradation, with perhaps the most pressing challenge being water supply, as watershed volumes shrink and flood risks increase. Two-thirds of Chinese cities lack water – more than half of China’s surface water and its cities' underground water supplies are polluted. A third of China’s population faces the threat of drinking contaminated water. In the last 50 years, half of its wetlands have disappeared, and its underground water table is increasingly decreasing.

The green heart of the Yangtze River Delta is composed of a fine-grained mix of fishponds and polders, that interweave linear settlements and small industries, contrasting with the rigidly zoned towns and generic cities that were developed in the last few decades. This top-down urbanization contrasts with heritage values that were sensitive to water systems and their ecological and functional roles. Recently, an ‘East-West Ecological Wetland and Water-village Corridor’ has been proposed with the aim to conserve the described water landscape. This studio will investigate how new development pressure in this corridor can be accommodated for while still preserving the distinct qualities of the area. The role of water in the YRD is evident. Hence, how can water and ecological systems be taken into account while continuing to accommodate the most dynamic development ever encountered in the region?

Spring 2017
Tamanduateí River Basin
Water Urbanisms explorations

São Paulo´s original settlement laid beside Tamanduateí River’s banks. With the construction of the first railway network, this floodplain became one of the first axes for the city´s development, which explains the high concentration of listed heritage along the river bank and the railway axis. In the recent years, in order to re-qualify its former industrial floodplains, the municipality conceived redevelopment programs, the most recent called Urban Operation “Bairros do Tamanduateí” (Tamanduateí neighborhood).
Taking advantage of the discussions generated by these redevelopment plans, this studio proposes to envision alternative urban design scenarios, giving a wider role to the river in the floodplain´s redevelopment.
The design proposals address the complexity and conflicts represented by the superposition of infrastructure; floods and water management (river, rain and sewage waters); listed buildings and industrial heritage; productive industrial area; the need for housing and new housing typologies; the existence of informal areas; and the site´s current decay.
Differently from the ongoing municipality´s propositions - Urban Operation Bairros do Tamanduateí - this exercise attempts to focus on the river, the potentials of the floodplain, searching for a reconciliation, between waterscapes and city spaces.

The urban design explorations aim to answer the following research question:
How water urbanism and urban design strategies would be able to shift the eastern part of São Paulo, currently shaped by infrastructure?

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.