What is your first thought when you hear “BELGIUM?” My mouth starts watering as for me it’s REMINISCENT (recollective, remindful) of pralinè or bonbon au chocolat (Belgian way to address chocolate), frites which translates as fries and gaufre de Liège, which is waffles. However, it is not just about MOUTHWATERING chocolates, exquisite beers, and a culinary scene that TARTALIZES taste buds from around the globe. Belgium is renowned for its rich ARCHITECTURAL heritage, spanning centuries of design and innovation. I invite you to SAVOR the country’s sweetest moments with a touch of sophistication and dash of whimsy.
SPELL: REMINISCENT SPELL: ARCHITECTURE SPELL: TARTALIZE
What country are we talking about? BELGIUM
What does the word combination ‘bonbon au chocolate’ stand for? CHOCOLATE
What is one of the synonyms of the word ‘reminiscent’? RECOLLECTIVE, REMINDFUL
What is one of the foods or drinks associated with Belgium that is mentioned in this paragraph? BEER, WAFFLES, FRIES, CHOCOLATE
What is Belgium renowned for except for its culinary scene? ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE, SPANNING CENTURIES OF DESIGN AND INNOVATION
Where is Belgium located?
Cutting the Edge
Belgium EMBRACES modernity and has become a hub for CUTTING-EDGE (the newest and most advanced area of activity in an art, science, and such) architectural developments. One of its most ICONIC contemporary structures is the ATOMIUM, a futuristic (innovative, modern, unusual) building resembling an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, with each ball being an iron atom. It was designed for the 1958 BRUSSELS WORLD’S FAIR and serves as both an architectural MARVEL and a museum dedicated to science and design. 2,970 LED lights have also been installed to light up the Atomium when the sun goes down.
SPELL: HUB SPELL: ICONIC SPELL: FUTURISTIC
What word is used to describe the newest and most advanced area of activity in an art and science? CUTTING-EDGE
What is the name of the building featured in this paragraph? ATOMIUM
What material is Atomium resembling? IRON CRYSTAL
What is one of the synonyms of the word ‘futuristic’? INNOVATIVE, MODERN, UNUSUAL
What is the antonym to modernity? ANTIQUITY, ANCIENTNESS, AGE
What is the capital of Brussels?
When was Atomium designed? 1958
What does Atomium look like to you?
Let us look at Atomium at night https://www.facebook.com/beemflights/videos/915092442185773/
So Much More Than a Tower of Books
In GHENT (or GENT as locals pronounce it), which is in the FLEMISH part of the country, the city’s university BOOK TOWER, also known as BOEKENTOREN, is a 64-meter-high architectural masterpiece. However, it is more than just a testament to innovative architecture as its heritage collections range from medieval MANUSCRIPTS and artists’ archives to truly the craziest things like the very first bread bag from the well-known baker BLOCH. In 1933, its designer, HENRY VAN DE VELDE, had the task to design a building that would be big enough to house the city’s university library in its entirety (the whole of something). It is an early EXAMPLE of modernism in Belgium and now has about 65 kilometers’ worth of material.
SPELL: MASTERPIECE SPELL: TESTAMENT SPELL: DESIGN
In which part of Belgium is Ghent located? FLEMISH
What was the name of the city’s well-known baker? BLOCH
The Boot Tower is an example of what? MODERNISM
What do the library’s collections contain? Name one. MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS, ARTISTS’ ARCHIVES, BREAD BAG
What are the synonyms of the word’ entirety? WHOLE, SUM, TOTAL
When did modernism start? EARLY 1900S, 19th CENTURY
When was the tower designed? 1933
How many meters high is the tower? 64
Now let’s go on a virtual tour https://boekentoren.gent/en/visit/online
War Between the Old And the NEW
Another NOTABLE architectural innovation in Belgium is the ANTWERP PORT HOUSE by RENOWNED (famous, distinguished, well-known) architect ZAHA HADID. This striking building is the result of the competition in 2008 with the one rule laid out – the original building had to be preserved. The old blended with the new – the old is identified with the SYMMETRIC order of a historic fire station from the early 20th century, while the new is recognizable in the MULTIFACETED shape of its extension – contemporary glass structure. Visually stunning, it is a highly functioning WORKSPACE for the port’s administration, highlighting Belgium’s commitment to preserving its architectural HERITAGE while embracing a modern way of thinking.
SPELL: NOTABLE SPELL: BUILDING SPELL: SYMMETRIC
What is Zaha Hadid? RENOWNED ARCHITECT
The Port House is the result of what? COMPETITION
What is the old represented by? FIRE STATION
What words are used in this paragraph that mean new? Name one. CONTEMPORARY, MODERN
What is one of the synonyms for the word ‘renowned’? FAMOUS, DISTINGUISHED, WELL-KNOWN
What historic buildings had contemporary glass structures added? (can also be used as VAKT https://www.archdaily.com/922139/6-historical-buildings-topped-by-contemporary-glass-extensions)
Which American architects do you know?
When was the glass structure added to the fire station? 2008
Let’s look at the sketch of the building and trace along the lines.
Belgium is home to several SUSTAINABLE and ECO-FRIENDLY architectural marvels. Brussel’s largest PASSIVE OFFICE BUILDING is a groundbreaking project that showcases the country’s dedication to sustainable design. It employs innovative ENERGY-EFFICIENT technologies, such as solar panels and a green roof, to reduce its environmental impact significantly. It also features large greenhouses that function as a HEAT BUFFER while offering a pleasant atmosphere and unique workplace. It serves as an INSPIRATION for environmentally CONSCIOUS architecture not only in Belgium but also worldwide.
SPELL: ECO-FRIENDLY SPELL: PROJECT SPELL: IMPACT
Brussel’s largest Passive Office Building is a groundbreaking project that showcases the country’s dedication to what? SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
In which city is the building located? BRUSSELS
What energy-efficient technologies does the building employ? SOLAR PANELS, GREEN ROOF, GREENHOUSE
What is another word for ‘showcase’? DEMONSTRATE, ILLUSTRATE, EMBODY
What eco-friendly buildings are there in your city?
Let’s design something innovative with these Legos/cups/bricks (any other material you have handy, even playdoh)
Belgium’s COMMITMENT to innovation extends to its public spaces. The PEDESTRIAN bridge in C-MINE, GENK, is an example of modern, functional design. This architectural GEM links the old coal mining site, once a major source of industry in the city, to a sprawling contemporary art campus and RECREATIONAL area, blending form and function while REJUVENATING the urban landscape. If you are an ADVENTUROUS traveler, you can descend into the old mining tunnels and make your way through several INSTALLATIONS, including a VR (virtual) mining experience that takes you back to the 1950s.
SPELL: COMMITMENT SPELL: SPRAWLING SPELL: ADVENTUROUS
In which city in Belgium is the bridge located? GENK
What was it used as before it became open to the public? COAL MINE
What does this former coal mine serve as now? PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, ART CAMPUS, RECREATIONAL AREA
What other words can be used instead of adventurous? BRAVE, FEARLESS, DAREDEVIL
If you are to design a building, what will it be or serve as?
When was the coal mine still functioning? 1950’s
Preserving the past and embracing the future
Belgium’s innovative architecture stands as a testament to the nation’s UNWAVERING commitment to both preserving its rich architectural heritage and embracing the possibilities of the future. From iconic LANDMARKS like the Atomium and the Antwerp Port House to the sustainable design of the Passive Office Building, Belgium’s architectural LANDSCAPE is a dynamic FUSION of history and innovation. With each new project, Belgium continues to inspire the world with its architectural creativity, offering a GLIMPSE into a future where the past and present HARMONIZE in structures that CAPTIVATE (fascinate, attract, dazzle) the imagination and ELEVATE the human experience.
SPELL: NATION SPELL: PRESENT SPELL: FUTURE
Belgium’s architectural landscape is a dynamic fusion of innovation and what? HISTORY
What does Belgium continue to inspire the world with? ARCHITECTURAL CREATIVITY
What is one of the colors in the Belgian flag? BLACK, YELLOW, RED
What Belgium landmarks are mentioned in this paragraph ATOMIUM, ANTWERP PORT HOUSE, PASSIVE OFFICE BUILDING
Replace the word ‘captivate’ with one of its synonyms. FASCINATE, ATTRACT, DAZZLE
Creative writing (new speller): Use five words to describe Belgian architecture
Creative writing (experienced speller): You have a time machine to go to any time in the future. Describe what the cities will look like.