It is an example of an industrial facility projected to the scale of rationalist town planning.
Grand Hornu is an old industrial mining complex in Hornu in the municipality of Boussu, Belgium. Built by Henri De Gorge between 1810 and 1830, it is an example of an industrial facility projected to the scale of rationalist town planning, replete with housing, burial ground, town center, civic landscape, monuments, and streetscapes.
Today, owned by the province of Hainaut, the site has been transformed into a cultural center with temporary exhibitions, workshops, offices, café and restaurant, bookshop, historical reconstruction of a worker’s estate and the administrator’s residence, known as “De Gorg Castle”. In 2002 MAC, or the Contemporary Arts Museum of the French Community, was added to the site. The architect Pierre Hebbelinck careful insertion grapples with the demarcation between the new and the existing neo-classical sensibilities of the site.
The site functions as a memorial, one that is occupied judiciously. The renovation is meticulous. Sensitive. Uncontestable. It is by all means complete. It further appropriation – unimaginable.