Architectural debates are rubbish.
We've all been there: a panel of similar designers with similar views taking it in turns to talk at length about their similar work - too polite, too deferential, too dull. At best they are lukewarm love-ins, critically impotent, elitist and stuffy. Turncoats is a shot in the arm. Framed by theatrically provocative opening gambits, a series of debates will rugby tackle fundamental issues facing contemporary practice with a playful and combative format designed to foment open and critical discussion, turning conventional consensus on its head.

The Good, The Bad and The Belgian

7pm, Saturday 1 July, Gent

A post-war self-build housing boom has saddled the entirety of Belgium with a rash of eccentric, highly individual, often hideous homes. Yet the trope of the Ugly Belgian House is a tribute to the civic freedom of the Belgian citizen.

In an era of rising xenophobia, architectural taste can play a new role as a built barometer for social tolerance. Many in our industry are trying to regain power, wresting architectural control back from the man in the street. They must be stopped – liberty trumps beauty.

The Panel

  • Job Floris is co-founder of Monadnock, a Rotterdam-based office for architecture, urbanism, interior and research. He has been editor of OASE since 2008 and the coordinator of the Master’s course at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture since 2010.

  • Martino Tattara is a co-founder of Brussels based studio DOGMA, a practice that works on the relationship between architecture and the city at a large scale. He is former Head of Research at ETH Studio Basel and is currently teaching at KU Leuven.

  • Elsbeth Ronner is one of the founders of Rotterdam based office Lilith Ronner van Hooijdonk and a frequent contributor to journals on architecture. The work of the practice focuses on the notion of metamorphosis as the base for a poetic approach to architecture.

  • Jan de Vylder is a newly appointed Professor at ETH Zürich and founder of Ghent based studio architecten de vylder vinck taillieu whose work ranges from the interior to the city block. The practice focuses on the process of architectural production as an integral component of the finished result.

  • Chaired by Marius Grootveld and Jonathan Robert Mai.
  • 7pm
  • Saturday 1 July
  • Tickets are free. Booking essential.
  • 019 - Museum of Moving Practice
  • Design Museum Ghent
  • Jan Breydelstraat 5
  • 9000 Ghent
  • Belgium

Get a ticket


Turncoats Belgium is a project by Alex Surguladze, Marius Grootveld and Jonathan Robert Maj, and supported by the Faculty of Architecture - KU Leuven

Any group of people with a thirst for intellectual mischief can join the Society of Turncoats and form a chapter in their city. Membership is of the society is free. Once a member your chapter can use and improve the format to host official Turncoats events. It began with Architecture, but can be transposed to other disciplines in need of an alternative format to niggle into the depths of difficult issues.

Membership entitles chapters to

  • Turncoats enamel badges plus the design files to produce more
  • Access to the source code of the Turncoats website to use for your events
  • A big bundle of images, logos, fonts and templates to help launch events
  • Access to the Turncoats network
  • A printed guide to running a Turncoats event plus digital copy
  • Support from chapters around the word

Email hello@turncoats.world about setting up a chapter