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The project is about Dumoulin brick & pipe factory located on the territory of Mesen, a municipality on the border of the Walloon and Flemish part of Belgium. Starting from 1926, this factory played a significant role for the “rebirth” of the city after the First World War, not only by re-shaping the urban landscape, but also by providing jobs to the people of the city and the area. But over the time when it stopped its production, eventually the factory has become an unused space despite having a heritage value. Moreover, an establishment of Slaughterhouse adjacent to the site is planning to expand over the land of this historic factory.
To preserve this asset of Belgium, design approaches towards the adaptive re-use of this former factory have been interpreted as a future scenario. But what should be the new functions to be incorporated which will both preserve the architectural and historical value and future prospect of the factory?
Let’s think from a different angle.We are in an age of high-tech technology. Many tangible things are disappearing from our surroundings and reappearing in digital form. They are improved upon and enriched with new functions that would not be possible in the material world. A few examples are maps, calendars, notebooks and pens, printed photos, music players, calculators, compasses etc. However, with the loss of their material form comes also the loss of the sensations and experiences that only physical interaction with objects can give us. The “… disembodied brain could not experience the world in the same ways that we do, because our experience of the world is intimately tied to the ways in which we act in it.” (‘Where the Action Is’ by Paul Douris).Whereas making (any kind of craft) is a continual process.....a process of growth.......It is the engagement with the material.....this offered an experience of tactility (Making-Anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture by Tim Ingold). So, what if the tactile experience of MAKING is revived in the abandoned spaces of Dumoulin brick and pipe factory? In the past, this factory was a production space for making bricks and pipes. Using the same material, Clay, the aim of the project is to ‘MAKING SPACE FOR MAKING ART’ by redesigning abandoned spaces of Dumoulin brick & pipe factory to revive the essence of brick making culture through tactile experience of making sculpture.
Preserving the existing walls and structure of kiln, multi-layer sheds and mixing zone, a new scaffolding system will be introduced to accommodate atelier for sculpture making, a workshop space for the interested learners with both interior and exterior exhibition spaces. Continuous walkway will be connected to different layers to provide different experiences for the visitors and artists. Thus, it will valorize the existing physical assets as well as providing social cohesion with the heritage site by being a vibrant place in which different users and visitors will interact with each other.
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