The layout of this beautiful modernist building was based on an innovative concept: to combine different types of leisure infrastructure – in this case a swimming pool and a theatre – under the same roof. The grand staircase with a curtain wall was once the piece de résistance of this sublime architectural jewel. The ambitious plan however turned out to be less than succesfull; the pool/ theatre had to close, leaving this valuabe part of architectural heritage to decay.
The preventorium, a fine piece of modernist architecture, used to house an institute for children with lung diseases. Located in the middle of the woods in the east of Belgium, all (natural) circumstances were favourable for their treatment. Years later, when the preventorium became abandoned, a couple of artists began to use it as atelier. Nowadays, the building is being renovated.
What started in the 1930s as a visionary modernist plan, which combined some of Belgium’s top architects to design a full-blown university in one of the country’s major cities, ended in an abandoned broken dream. This beautifully designed maze of buildings used to house the mathematical, chemical and mechanical quarters of the university and were constructed in some of the best materials known to men. Sadly enough, the university slowly moved its activities to a new campus outside of the city walls, leaving this modernist masterpiece at the disposal of graffiti sprayers and vandalizing youth. Nevertheless, the city council reacted rapidly and sealed every possible entry to the site. The campus was thus frozen in time and today still boasts several mesmerizing places, such as the wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing and several authentic auditoria that together represent silent witnesses of its glorious past. Fortunately, the future looks bright for the university, as a reconversion plan to turn the buildings into offices in a ‘park for economical activities’, has been developed.
When all its patients were transferred to modern facilities, this old hospital became abandoned. However, it did not remain desolate for very long, as the art academy of the city soon moved in, turning the hospital blocks into college workshops. Today, history repeats itself: also the art academy has moved to more ‘up to date’ facilities, leaving an empty building, with a grand modernist chapel, behind.