THE GRANDE CARRIERE WINCQZ

Architects: ISABELLE TOUSSAINT - MATTEO ROBIGLIO
Firm: TRA - TOUSSAINT ROBIGLIO ARCHITETTI

Abstract:

The project for Grande Carrière Wincqz, listed as a national monument in 1992, has defined specific strategies of adaptive reuse, working on the differentiation between the historical envelope and the new internal and external inserts through a series of technical, distributive and narrative devices. They allow to satisfy the contemporary comfort and safety requirements, while preserving the traces of the history of one of the crucibles of Belgian and European industrialization.

THE PROJECT IN ITS INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE ENVIRONMENT

Even before the Romans, in the Soignies region, the pierre bleue was extracted from the ground. It combines exceptional versatility and robustness. At the Grande Carrière this centuries-old history met modernity. This story is embodied in the five buildings for a total of 2000 m2 covered, on an area of almost 2 hectares, and the infrastructures that allowed open-cast mining, the on-site processing of the stone and its export throughout Europe. The architectural project of adaptive reuse has been divided into two successive phases. The first phase of work focused on the Grande Scierie and the former offices. On the façade of the Grande Scierie, the old metal frames could not be maintained and adapted, so they were replaced with undivided galvanised steel frames. A system of shutters made of expanded metal covers the opening. Consolidation of the roof structure required complete replacement of all the timber and metal reinforcements.

THE TRAINING HALL HEATED SPACES ARE CONFINED IN METAL BOX

The interior space has been decompartmentalised and a new volume clad in galvanised steel sheets (a “box within a box”) has been built in the centre of the building. This shiny volume contrasts with the unfinished interior walls. The old offices were the subject of an unexpected rescue. Their condition required major consolidation work and treatment against wood-rotting fungi and other wood-eating insects. The interior division has been partially maintained while new divisions are provided by metal frames. As all the floors have disappeared, a skylight has been created in the entrance hall, providing natural lighting. The second phase of the works aims to increase the capacity of the Stone. It involves restoring the site’s other listed buildings and constructing a new building. The same architectural principles guide the choices: respect for the existing buildings and clear identification of contemporary interventions.

POSITION AND PLAN OF THE ROOF STRUCTURE

The facades of the buildings overlooking the inner courtyard have been restored to their original state, and the traces of the past have been preserved. In order to improve the energy performance of the buildings, interior insulation has been installed. The forge area, which houses the two fireplaces dating from the period when the site was in operation, receives special treatment. The cafeteria is based on the principle of a folding structure, similar to that used in the Grande Scierie. Outside, a covered courtyard is integrated into the rear of the building. This sheltered outdoor space is designed in such a way as not to disturb the old courtyard and to maintain the full legibility of the existing building. In the extension of the shop, a contemporary volume is installed. It has a lower profile and simple shapes, the facets of which are derived from the site’s main lines. The spirit of the place is highlighted by the evocation of the old winch track. The philosophy of the project is also reflected in the landscaping of the surrounding area: visibility of the new works and respect for the industrial site.