House of Escher

19
July 2013

Congratulations, dear reader! You just won a GTI item (Grands Travaux Inutiles or Big Unnecessary Works or boondoggle, a specialty in Belgium) ! But, but, but, what do I see ? No, dear reader, you earn two points GTI ! Congratulations !
Boondoggle There must imagine the set of Fair Price with cheering crowd, the presenter on acid, the candidate on edge of heart attack and full of flashing lights...
The candidate in question could have been the Belgian State and the Walloon region. The State to have built this concrete behemoth only working fifteen short years, and this socialist... sorry, Walloon region for having restored half for nothing.

Back in time...
At the end of the last war, the brave American subsidize us by paying tens of billions of dollars through the Marshall Plan because we are European (and therefore good), everything has been destroyed here (requires that U.S. companies keep their customers) and especially to prevent our good democracies fall under the influence of the USSR.
So money is flowing (and the winner will be the UK, for some reason...) and our decision-makers think, once again, have a brilliant idea : build a coal preparation plant. What it is it ? A wash and a sort the coal extracted from mines in the area.
It already existed in our country, but we had to show off our skills. It is therefore built in 1954 a concrete monster 30 meters high which is flow 7500 cubic meters of concrete, 1,000 tons of steel and 72,000 m² of formwork will be required and a glass surface of 3500 m². The automation will be taken to the extreme and it takes little more than some 50 workers to run the machine.
Unfortunately, what had forgotten our little geniuses is that the mining industry was already in decline and the mines in the area were already convicted in 1956. The building will be completely abandoned in 1969.
Year after year, the building is deteriorating, a demolition has evoked and finally a historical monument. Indeed, there exists no other in Belgium or France.
In 2005, the Walloon region engulfed tens of millions for a reconversion. At choice, it will be an archival repository of the Kingdom or a library. Facades have been refreshes, all chassis replaced (3500 m² for recall and double glazing) and... that's all. After an early renaissance, the colossus is left again left to himself.

I therefore invite you to visit a maze of 35 levels.
A good sense of direction is required.

Pictures

House of Escher

The small number of workers employed by the coal preparation plant is confirmed by the few showers.

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Sanitaries in good condition, it's rare.

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The electrical room.

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We begin the ascent.

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Sometimes a little rust enlivens the monotony of the place.

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The quality of the concrete is not uniform throughout. If the overall structure is very solid, some beams are barely sad to see.

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I should have a plan...

House of Escher

Openness to the world.

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Flying junction.

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One of the tanks where was washed coal.

House of Escher

It kept his teeth. Caution...

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Difficult to reconvert.

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I will not go above : wind, vertigo and lack of discretion. And especially vertigo.

House of Escher

The surroundings are strewn with slag heaps.

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In the distance, one of replacing coal as a provocation.

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The visit finishes where the treated coal left the plant : the train station.

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Beautiful spiral staircase.
Let's say goodbye to the colossus.



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