Building meetings are a special experience for me: at the building site, in the site office, safety shoes on, helmet on the table. Three worlds acquaint themselves, each with its finger on the pulse: the client, who feels the responsibility of spending budgets, the contractor, who wonders whether the structure is possible and wants to discuss alternatives, and the user, undersigned, who wants to keep the momentum going.

It’s not just about film; it’s also about concrete, load-bearing strength, drainage, flood defences and… asbestos removal. Yes, some parts of the former electricity generating station are still not accessible due of asbestos. The stuff is everywhere, in things like valves and flanges. Its treatment will be a recurring high agenda point.

foto: www.philipdriessen.com

Happily, large parts of the work have now been handed over and it’s good to see the contractor getting its teeth, or rather those of the large hydraulic machines, into the building. Lots of debris needs removing, including the massive concrete bunkers. No problem for heavy machinery that has hardly any difficulty with meter-thick concrete walls.

foto: www.philipdriessen.com

In the preparatory phase, changes to the structure were barely perceptible; now the vista changes almost daily. A steel carcass is all that’s left of the boiler house; it will be temporarily removed in a week. It’s time for a webcam! The contractor’s feature presentation! We’re hoping that soon, we can all enjoy some memorable moments. How about the temporary removal of the boiler room’s ancient boiler in early February, or the removal of two large boilers from the power plant in February/March?

And then the project’s biggest job and challenge quickly begins: excavating the site for our large theatres. After all, they’re partly below ground level and even below the water table. This means drilling pile walls, moving huge quantities of soil, draining, constructing a watertight concrete box, and so on.

There will be plenty of beautiful moments in the transformation of ‘our’ striking building. It is indeed time for a webcam!

Nico Haenen