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Delft University of Technology

1. Figueiredo Magalhães, P.H. (author). Pieced together: Residential care centre in Anderlecht.

Degree: 2020, Delft University of Technology

An urban architecture aims to redefine an environment through cross-scale design in which the public, collective and private realms are (re)shaped. It critically assesses and responds to urban sites by enhancing its qualities and addressing its shortcomings. New buildings should therefore aim to establish themselves as articulators of a broader intervention scheme. By doing so, both existing and new structures are bound together in mutual benefit. This relationship elevates the quality of what is found in our cities and is fostered by new buildings that have character and are not arbitrary. Spolia is made of what is found in our cities, both material and immaterial pieces of former sites and building cultures. These fragments can be recomposed and incorporated into new structures, providing meaning, adding value and stabilizing them into the existing.Bricolage can be described as a creative practice that uses a limited and heterogeneous repertoire of available resources. It promotes reuse and re-appropriation of both material and immaterial values. Such re-imagining of found objects often results in new and uncommon meanings, while also embracing a sense of practicality and ingenuity. Adopting bricolage means looking at design practice differently. It becomes important to start by investigating the existing, the heterogeneous repertoire of our buildings and cities, looking for signs and ideas. These will form the starting point of future interventions. New designs are to be developed in tandem with the creative reuse of existing structures, thus a position on reuse is also important. Through a creative reuse that imagines new possibilities, the existing is used as a starting point for a new design. The idea is to highlight what can be a complimentary relationship between renewed structures and the newly added, rather than to stage a clash between old and new. To piece together three modest buildings into one new building, in turn making them a valued asset on the site. I believe this project illustrates how, by working with what is already in place in our cities, we can add upon and improve urban sites. I advocate that this should happen by a creative reuse that pieces together old and new, generating new and meaningful structures. Through this practice, both ordinary and relevant buildings may have their lives extended, their qualities highlighted or their faults amended. Piecing together means slowly building towards something new, taking fragments of what one finds along the way and making the best use of them. Indeed, the pleasure is the act itself, and the satisfaction is in creating an harmonious whole out of such fragmentrs. Advisors/Committee Members: Vermeulen, P.E.L.J.C. (mentor), Hachez, A. (mentor), Lafeber, J.W. (mentor), Delft University of Technology (degree granting institution).

Subjects/Keywords: reuse; bricolage; spolia; urban architecture

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APA (6th Edition):

Figueiredo Magalhães, P. H. (. (2020). Pieced together: Residential care centre in Anderlecht. (Masters Thesis). Delft University of Technology. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Figueiredo Magalhães, P H (author). “Pieced together: Residential care centre in Anderlecht.” 2020. Masters Thesis, Delft University of Technology. Accessed September 18, 2020.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Figueiredo Magalhães, P H (author). “Pieced together: Residential care centre in Anderlecht.” 2020. Web. 18 Sep 2020.


Figueiredo Magalhães PH(. Pieced together: Residential care centre in Anderlecht. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. Delft University of Technology; 2020. [cited 2020 Sep 18]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Figueiredo Magalhães PH(. Pieced together: Residential care centre in Anderlecht. [Masters Thesis]. Delft University of Technology; 2020. Available from: