A book about a timeless building in the Borinage region

Project visual MÍMÊSIS 222
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MIMESIS222 is an invitation to lose oneself in an unusual work of architecture. Over 300 pages of photographs, archives, drawings, models and essays reveal the rich and surprising inner world of this little-known school in the Borinage region. In the manner of a play in three acts, MIMESIS222 invites readers to wander through a setting of rough concrete facades, trompe-l'œil alleyways, interior squares and glass domes. Throughout the pages, the clues gleaned here and there reveal the uses and stories of the place. In the immensity of this maze of alleyways and patios, wandering becomes straying. The infinite repetition of these spaces slowly gives rise to questions and reflections about the building and the issues facing architecture today. The school comes to life in this architecture monograph, which deliberately detaches itself from its traditional form through fiction, humour and irony. The book attempts to restore the surrealism of these timeless spaces, witnesses to a particular era and public architectural policy. THE SCHOOL The building, designed by Belgian architect Henri Guchez and Spanish-Soviet architect Manuel Núñez Yanowsky, was built in the early 1980s in Quaregnon, in the belgian southern region of Borinage. The project was part of a drive to develop new types of schools for children with learning difficulties. Conceived as a fortified city, the building encloses a small inner city set apart from the surrounding world. The corridors are alleyways, the walls are facades typical of Belgian architecture and the translucent skylights and domes open onto the sky, bathing the interior spaces in zenithal light. The courtyard, meanwhile, is nothing other than a Flemish Grande-Place. Ever since it was built, this architecture has raised questions and raised curiosity. Today, this building and the life it shelters bring up all sorts of questions in everyone's mind: how can this school be made compatible with today's teaching needs? What were the circumstances that led to the construction of such unique architecture? Is it still possible today to place such a premium on form over function? How are such spaces experienced? GUESTS & CONTRIBUTIONS Three external contributors were invited to share their vision of the school. This began with a site visit, a project contextualisation and numerous discussions that fed back into the work on the content and form of the book. - Burozuid (Jakub Niemynski, Hugo d'Oliveira Cardo, Tim Pierson), by creating a scale model, offers a reading of the school that is reminiscent of the labyrinth theme so prevalent in the work of the Argentinian writer J.L.Borges and the ‘Infinite City’ research project developed by Archizoom Associati. - Through object design, Lina Etzkorn develops a reflection on the colours and layers that cover the surfaces of concrete walls. This work also questions the nature of the pastiche façades that articulate the building's inner city, the fine boundaries between the front and back stages. - Mihai Pop's essay, which resonates with Burozuid's maquette work, explores the theme of fractals, the possibility of an infinite plan for this school and its implications. - Schieve photo collective, explores the landscape around the school and the wider Borinage region. With photographs by Clément Dat-Sénac, Mélanie Gueguen & Vincent Van Grevelinghe. WHO IS PAPER MENHIRS? Paper Menhirs is an independent publishing house created in 2019. It is dedicated to the creation of works that relate directly or indirectly to the field of architecture. Paper Menhirs approaches publishing through the themes of time, memory, permanence and corporeity. In the course of 2023, Élise Helm, Lina Bentaleb and Sébastien Bez have joined the adventure initiated by Tomás Barberá Ramallo to write this 8-handed book. THE BOOK • 400 pages • Dimensions: 16.5 x 24 cm • Cover : 300g matte with printed flaps • Printing: 4-colour process • Inside paper 1: 90g matt • Inside paper 2: 100g satin • Weight : 0,750kg • Retail price: €35 ■ French / English PRINTING : August 2024 PUBLICATION : 01/10/2024 01:10am CONTRIBUTIONS The creation of this book was the work of several years during which the editorial team gleaned a whole series of objects, anecdotes and ideas about this very special building and the Borinage region. It is this collection, which forms the universe of the book, that we want to share with readers through a series of parallel and complementary creations. We have therefore established 5 reward: BOOK, WALK, PHOTOGRAPHY, COLLECTION, PLAYGROUND, which will enable you to buy the book with one of these creations, ranging from photographic prints to 3D printing.

Allocation of funds

Update 04/07/2024: Thank you very much! We've reached 100%. We're still dreaming: let's try to reach 200%. This new target would allow us to finance the upcoming exhibition in October. ••• This self-published book has been selected by the Cellule Archi of the Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles to receive a grant to support artistic creation. This grant will cover part of the book's production costs. In addition, this pre-sales campaign will enable Paper Menhirs to cover the book's production costs and to offer readers the chance to pre-order a book at a special launch price, along with a number of unique extras. We would like to thank you for your support and hope to be able to share with you soon the results of the work done by everyone involved in bringing the book to life. We look forward to giving you a copy of MIMESIS222 at the launch party. Thank you !

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