WIT Press


The Reuse Of The Detention Centre Of Vilvoorde (Belgium): Three Centuries Of Convicts’ Graffiti

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/STR110161

Volume

118

Pages

9

Page Range

185 - 193

Published

2011

Size

1,511 kb

Author(s)

A. Verdonck, D. Nuytten & L. Dekeyser

Abstract

The Detention Centre of Vilvoorde (Belgium) dates from 1773-1779 and is designed by Laurent Benoît Dewez, the royal architect of Charles-Alexandre de Lorraine. After some decades of lack of occupancy, the complex is to be reused for multiple purposes. The most intact wing, where the cells are well-preserved, will serve as a museum, illustrating life in the 18th century detention centre. Architectural paint research was executed in the cells of this former prison in preparation of the reuse assessment. On the walls of the extreme small vaulted cells, exposed graffiti represents in a unique way the isolated life of the detainees. As a result of the abominable state of preservation of these cell decorations, emergency fixations and restoration tests were executed. Here the building, its wellpreserved structure and spaces (with cells, corridors and large former workspaces-ateliers), its graffiti etc. will itself be the work of art on display, in combination with temporary exhibitions. The other wings, where in the course of history much of the interior structure was lost, were reused as a modern living and working area. As such, the rehabilitation of the site of the detention centre acts as a pilot project in the reuse of a former industrial harbour area, which links the city of Vilvoorde to the Brussels business area. Keywords: architectural paint research, graffiti, restoration strategy, retrofitting, reuse, Laurent Benoît Dewez.

Keywords

architectural paint research, graffiti, restoration strategy, retrofitting, reuse, Laurent Benoît Dewez