Research projects Johan Lagae

Boma 1880-1920: Colonial Capital City or Cosmopolitan Trading Post?

The Royal Museum of Central Africa holds an extensive, rich photographic collection. During the exhibition ‘The Memory of Congo: The Colonial Era’ (2005)

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City, Architecture and Colonial Space in Matadi and Lubumbashi, Congo

This research investigates how specific colonial urban spaces in Central Africa developed between 1885 and 1960 not only as the result of top-down planning processes but also via social processes within their ‘cosmopolitan’ communities.

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Claude Laurens. Architect

In the context of his doctoral research, Johan Lagae conducted research on the personal archives of the French architect Claude Laurens.

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Congo belge (en images)

For this exhibition, Magnum photographer Carl De Keyzer and Johan Lagae selected nearly 100 images from the immense visual archive at the Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren, the largest part of which dates from 1885 to 1908.

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Congo: Urban Landscapes, Intersecting Gazes

This exhibition presented the urban landscapes of three cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kisangani) and invited visitors to reflect on the notion of ‘shared heritage’.

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European Architecture beyond Europe

Between 2010 and 2014, Mercedes Volait (INHA, Paris) and Johan Lagae (UGent) ran a European-funded COST-action project (IS0904) entitled 'European Architecture beyond Europe: Sharing Research and Knowledge on Dissemination Processes, Historical Data and Material Legacy (19th–20th centuries)'. The focus of this project was not only on colonial architecture but also on the built environment resulting from migration flows or the production linked to transnational networks of expertise.

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Heritage in the Lower Congo Region

As the natural gateway to the immense hinterland of Central Africa, the region of the Lower Congo was of extreme strategic importance for the Belgian colonization project and its economy of exploitation.

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Mapping Kinshasa

Johan Lagae was invited to contribute to the exhibition “Afropolis: Stadt, Medien, Kunst” (curators: Kerstin Pinther, Christian Hanussek, Larissa Förster) with a presentation on the spatial development of Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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The Memory of Congo: The Colonial Era

Drawing on the Royal Museum for Central Africa’s extensive collections, this exhibition presented a broad survey of Congo during colonial times and, as such, shed light on an ignored historical past. Beginning with an evocation of Congo’s distant past, which preceded a colonial era that would bring changes to the territory, the history of Congo’s colonization was narrated around a series of major themes: social hierarchies, economic transactions, encounters between individuals and cultures and the construction of a colonial imagery. The exhibition ended with a section devoted to the independence and the post-colonial era.

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Urban and Architectural Heritage in Kinshasa, DR Congo

A survey of urban and architectural heritage in Kinshasa (DRC) was conducted between 2009 and 2011 at the initiative of Bernard Toulier (French Ministry of Culture and Communication). Johan Lagae was in charge of the historical research.

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