Zwerfruimte / Wanderspace

September 2020 sees the release of Zwerfruimte/Wanderspace, a book curated by RE-ST. This book can be seen as an extension of the architectural firm’s everyday activities and ongoing research into wander space. The book provides a broader, more in-depth look at this issue, sharing insight into the findings and citing actual examples of the work the firm has undertaken in the last ten years. It is a call to make the identifying of opportunities and the mapping and activating of underused space the subject of debate as an urgent spatial matter. The starting point of a quest for a much-needed spatial diet.


Why do we build more than we need? While open space is becoming an increasingly rare commodity, we hardly seem to recognise the opportunities of existing builds. In this book, architectural and research firm RE-ST raises the issue of the unnecessary growth of the building stock.

Wander space is built and unbuilt spaces we produced together but underuse on a daily basis. It is space of all sizes that is present everywhere and nowhere. No-one knows how much wander space there actually is. When detecting, mapping and activating wander space, the architect is faced with both an opportunity and a challenge. Not ‘littering’ our country with unnecessary houses, but designing the repurposing of existing builds and only building when absolutely necessary.

RE-ST is the curator of this book. We asked Tine Hens to place wander space in a wider context. In twelve chapters, Tine tries to provide an in-depth understanding of the issue, with frequent references to projects from our design practice. Roel de Ridder reflects on the relevance of RE-ST as an architectural firm and places the need to debate wander space in an architectural-historical framework. This is followed by the metaphorical musings of Jee Kast, who offers an artistic take on the issue. As a wordsmith, he compares our spatial behaviour and never-ending building obsession to collecting an overabundance of coffee mugs.

The issue of wanderspace transcends a small region like Flanders. At the same time, the experiences of this small region can be translated and applied to issues on a worldwide scale. The judicious use of space is an opportunity and challenge par excellence for all affluent nations. Putting a stop to spatial growth and scaling back our use to the existing building stock is an international task. The transition from a linear to a circular building culture is an action point for anyone working with space in the coming years and decades. The book is an invitation to share knowledge about how to deal with the excess of built space via an international network. With his piece ‘Laatste steen van België’, architect Luc Deleu makes a case against unnecessary building.

With Zwerfruimte/Wanderspace, our own ‘brick-like’ work of art, we hope to raise awareness of our collective obsession with building.

You can order the book via ISBN 978-94-6208-589-3 | release September 2020 | Tine Hens, Roel de Ridder, Leo Van Broeck, Jee Kast | design: Sarah Schrauwen | Dutch, English | hardcover, casebound, sewn with endpapers, 2.2 mountboard, square spine, lay-flat bound with head and tail bands | 10 x 21cm | 336 p. | illustrated (20 colour) | in partnership with: RE-ST architecten | with support of: Stimuleringsfonds voor Creatieve Industrie

Zwerfruimte / Wanderspace
Tine Hens, Roel De Ridder, Sarah Schrauwen, Jee Kast