Joachim Declerck (1979, Kortrijk BE) is civil engineer in architecture and urbanism, and founder and director of non-profit Architecture Workroom Brussels (AWB) — European innovation platform for the transformation of our social and physical environment. Since 2014, Declerck is Professor at Ghent University (BE), and in 2020 he is Visiting Professor at EPFL (CH). The focus of his work is the role and contribution of design and spatial transformation to the implementation of important societal transitions. He studied at Ghent University (BE) and continued his formation with an international postgraduate at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam (NL). After his studies, Declerck was associated with this institute from 2005 till 2010, where he directed the professional research and development projects. On behalf of the Berlage Institute, he was co-curator of the 3rd International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), Power – Producing the Contemporary City (2007), and of the project and exhibition A Vision for Brussels – Imagining the Capital of Europe (2007).
In 2010, together with Roeland Dudal, he founded Architecture Workroom Brusels as a platform that offers the space and support for the development of innovative spatial research and strategies. Declerck’s focus is on strategic transformations such as ‘visionary housing construction’, ‘productive landscapes’, ‘care and neighborhoods’, ‘the productive and circular city’, ‘energy neighborhoods’, etc. As design lead, he has been coordinating numerous experimental design trajectories and laboratories (IABR–Atelier Brabantstad, IABR–Atelier Utrecht, Atelier Brussels–Productive Metropolis, IABR–Atelier Istanbul, IABR–Atelier Rotterdam: Energy as leverage, etc). Together with AWB, he has been curator of the exhibition Building for Brussels – Architecture and Urban Transformation in Europe (2010). Declerck was member of the curator team for the 5th IABR entitled ‘Making City’ (2012), of the Belgian pavilion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, entitled The Ambition of the Territory (2012), of the bi-biennale in Rotterdam and Brussels The Missing Link and You Are Here (2018), and of the Brussels Urban Landscape Biennial in 2018, entitled Rising Waters (2018). With AWB, Declerck has been programming and moderating several seminars and intervisions, such as Flanders As Design (2012), Designing the Future (2016-2017), or the World Transformation Sessions (2018).
From the perspective of design and spatial transformation, Declerck regularly contributes to the broader societal debate (newspapers, opinions, etc), to the development of the practice and to professional knowledge development, and to the innovation of urban/rural transition policies, implementation methods and investment programs. Via the Open Space Platform for example, Declerck and AWB contributed to the development of an alternative implementation method and concrete transformation programmes such as Water+Land+Scape (2017–…), the De-ceiling Program (2018–…), and the Drought Program (2019–…). Via the knowledge- and action-platform Delta Atelier, new peer-to-peer cooperations on ‘Urban Maintenance’ as leverage for the climate adaptation of cities (2019–…), on ‘Circular Ports of the Delta’ (2018–…), and on the transition to a climate-resilient food-system (2020–…), have been set up to accelerate the transitions in the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt Delta.