FN factory at Herstal to become eco-village

 One of the largest and historically significant urban regeneration programs to have been announced recently, is in Herstal, near Liège. The historical significance comes from the fact that it involves the ‘FN’ factory, or ‘national manufacture’. This is set to be transformed by architect Olivier Dwek and developer Newmarket into 350 apartments (private and social) residential units, a hotel in the former office tower, a rest home, a crèche…
FN employed up to 13,000 people in its heyday, producing military equipment such and guns and munitions, and also cars, motorbikes, and more recently sports equipment. The FN is has no longer been there for over 20 years, but a number of smaller companies occupy part of the 100,000 m² of space.

It is precisely the former ‘munitions’ designation of the former factory which has enabled Olivier Dwek to conceive a unique architectural concept. For the 350 apartments will be located on the reinforced slab covering the factory.

Olivier Dwek himself explained to us from his studios in Uccle: “On the covering of the first floor will be an eco-village suspended above the town and the region – 6 or 7 metres above the small houses, in fact. Along with the various types of residences will be 900 parking spaces on two levels, the upper level for residents and their guests, and a public car park below. There will be local shops, office space, a cultural centre / theatre, and a museum dedicated to the FN. This is therefore an extremely mixed project and very horizontal in nature. The fact that this was a munitions factory meant that it was extremely well secured, and turned in on itself. We will open all this out and creates green areas in relation with the remainder of the town. But it was also incredibly strong, designed to resist any type of attack. So the covering of the first floor is strong enough for us to build the apartments above. We will be creating an entire village up here, and we will create a ‘goods lift’ which will enable ambulances or small waste collection vehicles, to be lifted up to the village. For me, along with Tour & Taxis, this is one of the most important pieces of industrial heritage in Belgium”.

Works are set to start in the middle of this year and the development will be in phases, over around seven years


Source : pro-realestate.be


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