Juliette Mathieu & Antonin Brisson :
Communa in Brussels.
Internship abroad [summer 2023] DSAA Design, Architecture (school year 2022-2024)
We did our internship as part of Erasmus+ in Belgium, because we wanted to discover the field of transitional urban planning, while having professional experience outside France.
The city of Brussels and the Communa association seemed to us to be the perfect combination between the attractiveness and opportunities offered by the abundance of associations and emerging dynamics that a foreign capital has.
We thus discovered OTFS (Temporary Occupation for Social Purposes), which is management with the agreement of the community or the owner of an empty building! The goal is to welcome activities and/or residents while experimenting with uses while waiting for a future project. Communa's mission is to provide OTFS in order to open cultural places or even accommodation centers, in a difficult land context in the Brussels region.
By choosing this experience, we found ourselves facing many challenges. Working throughout our internship in a place welcoming Ukrainian refugees, many questions arose both socially and in terms of occupation of the field. We were able to work on the visual identity of the site, analyze the design issues and thus give the site team ideas to improve the well-being of its residents. This associative experience allowed us to discover a new system of hierarchy, which was a particularly strong experience socially and emotionally.
Finally, we created a structure to mark the threshold between public space and private space made entirely of reused materials. It thus synthesizes our lived experience within a place where the social issue is strong.
The advantage of doing your internship abroad is also being able to take advantage of the weekends to walk around, visit the country and enjoy it!
This internship was possible thanks to the financial support of Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.