A Memorial to the highs and lows of social housing

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A Memorial to the highs and lows of social housing

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A Memorial to the highs and lows of social housing

Just as so many other modernist housing estates, the Rabot towers in Ghent are currently being knocked down. Their fate seems to have been influenced by a complicated mix of construction faults, poor maintenance and a rising popularity of their surroundings. Simon Allemeersch, a local artist and theatre maker, decided to move in just as the first residents were moving out. Together with those who stayed he discussed the built fabric and social conditions in which they lived, thus setting up a lively exchange between them and the indifferent outside world.

Allemeersch stayed for two years, building up strong relationships with residents, who were tired of artists coming and going just to exploit their living conditions. The late-night discussions and social gatherings in the artist’s flat led up to a documentary film, which can be seen as a living memorial to those who lived their lives in the now hibernating Rabot towers. In it, Allemeersch and the residents embark on a quest to answer the blunt question as to why the towers turned from a success story into a failure so rapidly. His curiosity seems to neatly fit into Failed Architecture’s mission statement.

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