Sex in the City: Panopticon or Pornotopia?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


When paying a visit to Antwerp, Belgium's main port city, chances are that you will be nudged into visiting the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS). Opened in 2011 as Antwerp's largest museum, it houses a wide-ranging collection and exhibitions focused on the city, its residents and global historical connections created through maritime trade activities. While not nearly as eccentric or spectacular as Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum, the construction of the MAS clearly tried to surf the waves of the now ubiquitous "Bilbao effect." On the outside, the building's geometric alternation of glass and red sandstone elegantly guides the gaze of onlookers up to the MAS's freely accessible rooftop, where tourists can indulge in a panoramic view of the urban industrial surroundings. More surprising than the design and appeal of this new hotspot, however, is the fact that within walking distance of the MAS, another building can be found that epitomizes the nature of the modern port city, albeit according to a wholly different visual logic and character. In the adjacent Schipperskwartier (Skipper's Quarter) lies Villa Tinto, a former harbor warehouse turned mega brothel that concentrates virtually all of the city's sex work industry in one location.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalLA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


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