Arnout is an architect and interior designer, currently living and working in Belgium. He graduated interior design at the Hogeschool voor Wetenschap & Kunst, Sint Lucas (2012) and a Master in architecture at KU Leuven (2016).
His Master’s Thesis project: “Arrival Cities – An Urban Infrastructure for the Trade & Market area in Addis Abeba”, proposed a profound redevelopment of the main market area of Addis Abeba (Merkato), while maintaining the informal conditions for productivity, so as to guarantee the area keeps it status of ‘arrival city’ in order to embrace a fluid urbanisation process. His project was a finalist for the “Van Hove Prijs” 2016 and received a special mention in the “Shelter Global Int. competition”.
His current research builds on the expertise and local collaborations established during his Master’s Thesis project and a Multi Stakeholder research project: “Streetscape Territories – Sustainable development strategies for Merkato, Addis Abeba (2018). His research start from the fact that emerging countries with high urbanisation rates, such as Ethiopia, are forced to produce labour productive jobs beyond their own possible capacity. The local government aims to response this reality by encourage industrialisation through the construction of vast industrial villages. Labour productive urban enclaves that do not match the minimum working conditions and do have a constant threat moving to cheaper environments leaving the local community nothing behind. The amount and size, but also the speed of construction illustrates the need to better understand the collective spaces, human interactions and spatial impact of those new urban spaces. The research uses a comparative study of three carefully selected case studies ((1) Addis Abeba, (2) Bahir Dar, (3) Dire Dawa) that are representative for other industrial developments in Ethiopia.
Along with his research, Arnout works as a freelance architect/researcher for an architecture firm in Gent, Belgium.