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Freek Persyn graduated from the Sint Lucas School of Architecture in Brussels, Belgium. Soon after graduating he established 51N4E (the name refers to the coordinates of Brussels), with Peter Swinnen and Johan Anrys. In 2004, 51N4E was awarded the prestigious Rotterdam Maaskant Award for Young Architects.
Some of 51N4E's notable work includes the adaptive reuse of the ‘C-mine’ industrial buildings at a former coal mine in Winterslag, Belgium; the large-scale Skanderberg Square, the most important public space in Tirana, Albania, larger than Red Square in Moscow and twice the size of St Peter's Square in Rome; and 50,000 residences in Bordeaux, France.
Parallel to his professional activities at 51N4E, Persyn is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Gent, a visiting critic and studio master at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and is currently a visiting professor at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland.