Official architect Peter Swinnen dismissed with immediate effect


No detailed explanation has been given for the sudden decision to remove the Flemish government’s official architect from his post, with work continuing under his deputy

Term ended early

The Flemish government has voted to dismiss official architect Peter Swinnen with immediate effect. His term of office was due to run until June this year. Neither the government nor Swinnen’s office have given any detailed explanation for the sudden decision.

According to the only statement released, by deputy minister-president Liesbeth Homans, the dismissal follows a report by Audit Vlaanderen which was delivered to the government on 29 January.

According to De Morgen, the speed with which the decision was taken on receipt of the report suggests the audit made serious allegations against Swinnen. One of them is thought to be conflict of interest in commissioning a study into whether the working practices of the official architect’s office could be applied in Albania. Swinnen’s own practice, 51N4E, has strong ties to the Albanian government, the paper says.

The report also raises questions about renovations to the Ravenstein Gallery near Central Station in Brussels, where Swinnen installed his official office in 2012. Some of the expense claims relating to that work cannot be linked to his official duties, De Morgen reports.

The government issued a statement saying the work of the office would continue under Swinnen’s deputy. However, the post of official architect could be nearing its end, as the Flemish government intends to replace the post with a panel of experts whose job would be to sketch out plans for the government’s architectural policy.

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