Organising an event about towers is hyper-topical. Towers are being planned and built all over the world today. The vertical construction industry in South-East Asia is well known, but also in the European cities around us, hundreds of metres high towers are being built.
Belgium, too, has a rich history when it comes to building towers. Antwerp was a real tower city for centuries. We can be very proud of our Boerentoren. After all, in 1931, it was the first skyscraper in Europe. But there was a double feeling from the start. The Boerentoren was never officially inaugurated. No ribbons were cut by proud builders, no laudatory speeches were made by politicians or a grand celebration was held for the completion of the tallest residential tower in the 1930s. Apparently, we have a difficult relationship with towers. In every self-respecting city, as a local or tourist, you can climb a tower and enjoy the panorama of the city. But hardly any of them in Belgium. And that is where HOGER / HIGHER / PLUSHAUT comes in. This event wanted to give everyone the chance to literally explore and experience the city from above. In addition, this event wanted to rekindle belief in towers and explore the possibility of high-rise as an alternative to the Flemish nebulous city. This was done through the two exhibitions Torenstad and Boerentoren & Co, in which a contemporary discourse on towers and high-rise was conducted on the basis of more than 200 original documents, paintings, drawings and models.
In order to make the complex and often abstract subject matter of architecture and urban planning comprehensible to a wide and varied audience, the two exhibitions are built around thirteen themes. Thirteen reasons why towers were built or thirteen good reasons why towers can also be built today (and at home).
In the Rockox House, Tower City told the history of towers in Antwerp in seven themes, spread over seven halls. These seven themes were illustrated with mainly historical documents dating from the 16th to the 19th century. The topicality of these themes was reinforced with examples of towers from today.
The 'Boerentoren & Co' exhibition on the ground floor of the Boerentoren told the story of the birthday Boerentoren in its historical and architectural context. The fascination for high-rise was evoked in all its facets: towers as symbols of power, the construction of towers, towers as city-marketing or vertical cities, utopian tower projects, etc.
Through a mix of photos, original architectural drawings, models, films and objects, this fascination was clarified on the basis of six themes: celebration, image, construction, mix, transformation and utopia.