by Nick Johnston
Soon in Leuven Editor
On March 5th at STUK Cafe, ‘Existenz’ held their yearly week-long event, Existenz Week in Leuven. Now in its 24th iteration, Existenz Week is an annual series of eclectic events organized by architectural engineering students for the broader public. This year, it was located in the monastery of the Brothers of Charity which is in the center of Leuven on Kaboutermansstraat. Formerly abandoned, Existenz brought this abandoned property to life and used it to host educational workshops, musical concerts, and other activities for participants. As with all the best student events, Existenz Week had no general entrance fee.
Existenz’s website described its members as a group of motivated architectural engineering students that have been writing its story for over 24 years. They aimed to seek out and push the limits of architecture. Their vision was a fusion of the conceptual and the hands-on. Their programme for that week reflected its commitment to animating the abstract in concrete ways.
The programme for Existenz Week was rich in diversity. Activities ranged from educational workshops on how to use cement, weight training with Open Gym Leuven, musical concerts, a barbecue, a lecture evening, and book binding, to name a few. However, the constellation of events orbited around the central mission of creating “spaces for the future.” Thus, Existenz seeked to educate and empower attendees to become creators themselves and take ownership over their own spaces. Whether you want to learn digital skills like Adobe Photoshop, try your hand at welding, or to learn more about the intersection of politics and urban planning, Existenz Week had something for everyone.
The legacy of former Existenz Weeks were shown throughout Leuven that day. The tag of Existenz was painted on various buildings which was once hosted their festivities. The remnants of past Existenz Weeks were shown. This article didn’t even come close to all that was planned, but it was worth a visit.