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Contact | Secretariaat
Martine Pollier
Zandstraat 324, 8200 Brugge
T +32 50 322 420



Beyond the mining town

With the support of:

We travel to Charleroi for an in-depth visit with the architects of three outstanding interventions in the city centre. Since these projects are within close proximity of each other, we will not be taking the bike this time but will we walk.

We visit Chapex with architect Jan De Vylder, A6K/E6K with architect Manuel Leon Fanjul (Traumnovelle) and Place Charles II with Charleroi Bouwmeester.

Arnaud Tandt Chapex – jdviv and AgwA

On the cusp of a pivotal moment in the history of Charleroi, Archipel invites you to cross the language border and take a closer look at this city which often stays off the architectural radar. In no other place in Belgium you will be confronted with spatial gestures of a similarly grand scale. Monumental stately buildings were erected to accommodate a growing and bustling population, which flocked to the city for the economic opportunities in the coal, glass and steel industries during the 19th and 20th century. The perspective views to the surrounding landscape point towards symmetric slag heaps or active production facilities. The raised monodirectional highway R9 envelops the centre, connecting a network of automobile, railway, canal and aerial transportation to the rest of the world.

Facing an economic stand-still, negative media attention and a declining population since the 1960s, Charleroi has been in a long and difficult process to reinvent itself as a creativity and technology hub. Sensing the need for a global vision on the urban development and reconstruction of the city, 10 years ago, the Charleroi Bouwmeester was appointed by the city council. As he and his team are working on multiple levels and action terrains, it is mostly a work of endurance. Fortunately it has now reached a point in time where important works to the public domain and two exemplary renovation projects are finished. Archipel grasps this moment to move the focus of our members towards Charleroi, conducting guided visits of three parties at the forefront of this transformation; Chapex by architecture offices jdviv and AgwA, A6K/E6K by Traumnovelle and a visit to La Chaufferie with Team Stadsbouwmeester Charleroi.

In a city where everything is oversized and people find shelter in the central shopping mall, we ask the urgent question, how to re-energise, how to reinvent and how to give a new meaning to these previously abandoned spaces?

JAN DE VYLDER for jdviv and AgwA | CHAPEX

Arnaud Tandt Chapex – jdviv en AgwA i.c.w. doorzon

Le Palais des Expositions was built in 1953 by architect Joseph André with the intention to embellish and valorise the city. However, in the current economic climate the building remains largely unused. To tackle this problem, architecture offices jdviv and AgwA proposed a remarkable solution befitting the tight budget. By stripping the central circulation axis and exposing the concrete structure, they created an unprecedented type of public space. Aided in the process by Doorzon (interior), Denis Dujardin (landscape) and Bureau Greisch (stability), the building has gained vitality and further plans have been introduced by the client to create new functionalities.

MANUEL LEON FANJUL for Traumnovelle | A6K/E6K

Arnaud Tandt Traumnovelle – A6K

Traumnovelle, an architecture office from Brussels, was tasked to transform a former mail sorting centre into new working spaces for high tech start-ups. The building thereby found a new purpose after it was abandoned in 2005. Along with Carbonifere (landscape) and Harrisson (graphic design), Traumnovelle created a novel environment to enable collaboration and cross-pollination under an impressive 5.000m2 roof structure. This first project is located next to the central train station in Charleroi.

CHARLEROI BOUWMEESTER | redevelopment of the public domain

Arnaud Tandt Place Charles – Bas Smets

In 2013 Georgios Maillis was appointed as the first Charleroi Bouwmeester, with the generous but difficult mission to be a driving force of exploration, impetus, collaboration, support, communication and, above all, the implementation of projects that support the restructuring of the city. One of these projects, the redevelopment of the public domain “la ville haute”, is near completion. The masterplan was coordinated by Bureau Bas Smets from Brussels, they introduced a pedestrian carpet and gave each space a specific character to elevate the unique qualities of the city.

Arnaud Tandt ifapme Chaufferie


Want to make a full-day Charleroi of it? Then also visit one of the following museums in the morning. The first two are easily accessible on foot from the station. To visit the Musée de la photographie, we advise you to take your bike or car.

BPS 22
2023 by Archiscénographie Roland

2022 by Goffaert Polomé Architecte

2008 by L’Escaut and Landinzicht