ARCHITECTURE LINKING PAST AND PRESENT
The building of the former water pumping station holds a key position in the civilian, architectural and urbanistic history of the city of Mons. It serves as a symbol of an industrial society aiming to improve the quality of life for its people. This designated historical site was converted into the Mons Memorial Museum that deals with the military history of the city from the Middle Ages up to and including both world wars.
Creating space for new use
To provide enough room for permanent and temporary exhibitions, a restaurant and a forum, more space was needed. The structure was carefully adapted and extended with two contemporary extensions on both sides of the existing building by Atelier d’architecture – Pierre Hebbelinck. The new white extensions flank the old structure, making it the heart of the compound and giving the museum a whole new appearance.
Design for a memorial space
In order to unite all three structures optically, a contiguous front on the corner of the nearby Boulevard was created. The extensions have their own identities but harmonize with the old building at the same time. The light and open aspect as well as the cantilever form symbolize the intention of the museum as a place of peace and remembrance, since most of the displayed items exhibit a history of human suffering during wars.
The matters of the project are light, memory and history. The materials used are glass, steel and brick.
Atelier d’architecture – Pierre Hebbelinck
Clay materials for past and present
Like the museum itself, the material used has a story to tell. The old red brick façade of the former pumping station is listed as protected heritage, so choosing clay materials for the extensions made sense, to combine tradition and modernity. The facing bricks used for the new parts were painted white on the outside, giving them a light appearance. In contrast , the cut-outs were not treated with paint and remained red, matching the clay pavers used. The traditional red colour emphasizes the authentic vibe of the whole museum.
Project nameMons Memorial Museum, Mons, Belgium
ArchitectAtelier d’architecture – Pierre Hebbelinck
ClientCity of Mons
Terca Elise and Arte pavers
Year of completion2015