The book presents a vast panorama of the prolific and imaginative work of Philippe Samyn and Partners, placing it in context among the architectural movements of the last forty years. Their great achievement is the balance they have struck between architecture and engineering in a remarkable synthesis of spatial and structural concepts and the physical laws of construction.
In the history of contemporary architecture, this position relates to that of rare innovators like Victor Horta, Frank Lloyd Wright, Auguste Perret or Jean Prouvé. It also links to the premises of the Modern Movement concerning the necessity of symbiosis between form, function and technique. Notable in this respect has been their continuous research into sustainable development with a strong emphasis on integration into the urban or rural environment.
Though sometimes spectacular, it never indulges in gratuitous exhibitionism, courting fashion and notoriety. Rather it cultivates its own sense of harmony through the correctness of its proportions and the logic of its design.
By training a civil engineer (ULB, 1971), town planner (ULB, 1973) and architect (ENSAV La Cambre, 1985), Philippe Samyn also obtained an MSCE diploma (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1973) and holds the degree of Doctor of Applied Sciences (ULg, 1999). He is a member of the Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique.
Pierre Puttemans, architect (ENSAAD, 1956) and town planner (ISU, 1959), is a member of the Commission royale des Monuments et des Sites. He has also produced numerous works on the history of contemporary architecture.
Pierre Spehl is an engineer who has collaborated with Philippe Samyn for many years. His essay reveals the highly complex nature of the engineers art, via Samyns various technical innovations whether in terms of structure, fluid dynamics or environmental impact as well as through the various patents registered by Philippe Samyn and Partners.