The Architects : Edouard Brunet

12.12.2017 - Editorial board

After working in several Belgian and French agencies, Edouard Brunet became self employed in Brussels in 2013 in order to develop projects in Belgium and in western France.

Considering every project as unique, he handles them with accuracy and ambition. His architecture is distinguished by a great attention to details and by the search of ingenious solutions, to create very pleasant and quality places to live.

© Edouard Brunet Architecte - Portrait of Edouard Brunet - BELGIANBOUTIQUE

What made you decide to become an architect?

I decided on this very lately, a couple of months before starting college. Slightly constrained by the approaching due date… As is often, it is micro events that guide your life in a more or less conscious way. As for me, it was the convergence of my focus on the old houses I saw on my way to school and the viewing of a TV program about a group of architecture students on a study trip in an Eastern country. The idea had germinated; I only had to make possible…  

What are the future challenges for architecture?

Definitely environmental. And mainly by focusing on valuing what already exists with respect and accuracy.

Who is your architect godfather?

I look up to many architects but for various reasons. Peter Zumthor, for his accuracy and his relation with materials. Baudouin-Engel, for his reinterpretation of old construction techniques. De Vylder-Vinck-Taillieu, for his unique and playful vocabulary, BIG for the fulgurance and the efficiency of his communication. Avignon-Clouet, for the experimentation. Jean Nouvel, for the strength of the effects. Christian Pottgiesser, for the richness of the architectural layout. David Chipperfield, for the sobriety and timelessness. Richard Neutra, for the lightness … So many sources of inspiration!

© Dennis De Smet - BRNK by F. Martens Architecte and E. Brunet Architecte - BELGIANBOUTIQUE

What building would you like to imagine?

My current orders are exclusively directed towards private residential. I am currently launching a new new dynamic to access public markets or larger scaled buildings : nurseries, schools, apartment buildings, … I believe that the programme does not matter as long as the conditions to carry out a quality project are combined.

What project are you the most proud of?

Among the projects I completed, I believe it is the BRNK (with F. Martens Achitect). Firstly because it was the first project I accomplished as a self-employed and where I invested a lot of energy and time. In a way, this project was the materialization of what I had collected through my previous professional experiences and my personal reflexions. And then because the positive feedbacks came from people with many differents profiles. Whether it was from the workers, fellow architects, inhabitants, architectural journalists, neighbours, my family, … This relative unanimity make me believe that it was an accurate project despite its radicalness.

What building would you like to blow up?

None. I think we always have to enhance the existing instead of making a clean sweep of it. For environmental reasons, as well as social ones. 
For instance, the large groups of building in French suburbs embody the miseries of a dysfonctional society for many. But for their inhabitants, they are the place where they lived, where they saw their children grow up, where they grew old … Blowing these buildings up must have been so violent for these people. After being put away from the cities, the traces of their past were erased in a few seconds.   
Instead of blowing up a building, I believe it is more interesting to think about how to give it a new energy, how to reconnect it with its environment… It’s a more stimulating and inclusive approach. With this state of mind, I think that the large administrative buildings facing La Monnaie in Brussels deserve to be deeply redesigned, and in a civic-minded approach.

If not an architect, what would you have become?

I don’t know. For that matter, I am an architect today, I might be something else tomorrow …

Best architectural city-trip and what to see?

Certainly Barcelona for its architectural and urban dynamism these lasts decades and its eclecticism. With every success and failures that it implies. Despite being saturated with tourists, the city is so dense that it is easy to get off the beaten track. Don’t miss the magnificent Ciutadella’s academic library (the entrance is strictly confidential and is through the university’s underground by pretending to be students). And above all, wandering nose up in the air in every neighbourhood… Without neglecting the less crowded areas which tell the hopes and illusions of every era.

© Dennis De Smet - ETIE by E. Brunet Architecte in association with F. Martens Architecte - BELGIANBOUTIQUE