VUB ARCH contact login

Marianne De Fossé

Ir. arch. Marianne De Fossé is a PhD researcher at the Department of Architectural Engineering of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She obtained the degree of “Master of Sciences in Architectural Engineering” at the VUB in 2014. She started her PhD research under the supervision of prof. dr. ir. arch. Ine Wouters (VUB), prof. dr. Inge Bertels (VUB) and prof. dr. Linda Van Santvoort (UG) in November 2014. Her research focuses on preserving historical urban warehouses in Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp by understanding their architecture and technology. Prof. dr. ir. arch. Ine Wouters and prof. dr. Inge Bertels received a project grant from the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO) for 4 years on which she will be working.

Projects

PhD research

Preserving historical urban warehouses in Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp by understanding their architecture and technology.

Preserving historical urban warehouses in Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp by understanding their architecture and technology.

Date2014 - ...
SupervisorsInge Bertels, Ine Wouters and Linda Van Santvoort
FundsFWO

Historical urban warehouses are remarkable structures. As essential facilities in national and international trade and industry, they were ‘cathedrals of modernity’: their presence signifying that a city was integrated into a commercial network made possible by evolving transportation technology.

Today, these wonderful buildings are obsolete for their original purposes. As they occupy valuable plots beloved by speculating building promoters they are endangered by redevelopment pressure. Preserving them has an important social value, in that it would maintain the distinctive look and ambience of former trading and manufacturing areas, and create a sense of continuity between the past and present.

The objective of this research project is to develop a base of knowledge about the history, structure, operation and architecture of historic urban warehouses in the main cities Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp in order to enhance their preservation and adaptive reuse. To date, there has been no comprehensive study of warehouses as a building type. This research project, and the typology developped, will be models for the investigation and understanding of this building type.

Master’s thesis

Beer warehouses in Brussels: historical value and reuse possibilities

Beer warehouses in Brussels: historical value and reuse possibilities

Date2013 - 2014
SupervisorsInge Bertels and Ine Wouters

In Brussels, where the rivers were polluted, for many centuries drinking beer was safer than drinking water. For that reason, beer brewing was an important commercial activity and many beer warehouses were needed to store the beer. The Brussels beer warehouses find their origin in the center of Brussels and spread to the agglomerations in the 19th century. They reached a peak at the turn of the century, after which they were involved in a concentration process and finally disappeared.

Now that the population increase in Brussels is causing demand for homes and work space to rise, real estate developers are casting their eyes on the large industrial sites in the city. As a result of this the existence of historic beer warehouses is being threatened. In order to support owners, designers, real estate developers and governmental bodies in the respectful repurposing of this heritage a study of these buildings is therefore urgently required. Some one hundred beer warehouses were discovered, of which sixty still exist today.

This master thesis at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels focused on the development of knowledge about the history, structure, operation and architecture of these urban beer warehouses and their integration in the urban fabric, to support their preservation and respectful adaptive reuse. It contains the results of in-depth archival and on-site investigations of nineteenth- and twentieth-century beer warehouses in the Capital Region of Brussels. Renovation projects were found that preserve the features of beer warehouses and are inspiring examples of good reconversion principles.

At the hand of one case study, the feasibility of a reuse project of an existing warehouse site was analyzed. For the latter, the historical Brewery Atlas in Anderlecht was chosen. This was part of a separate design project.