foto: www.philipdriessen.com
It’s done! The boiler house’s magnificent steam boiler has been removed. The boiler house also no longer stands. The walls are gone, and the remaining steel skeleton has been transported elsewhere for renovation.

About the boiler: for the connoisseurs, it’s a one hundred year old, riveted fire-tube boiler for steam production. It was used in the past to drive a steam engine that provided electricity for powering the Sphinx factories. With such a track record, its monument status is more than justified. The boiler will soon have a well-deserved second life in the area outside of the building.

It had to be moved in one piece, so it was time for some professional hoisting. Interestingly, from the moment I first played with Meccano, I’ve always adored anything to do with cranes – the bigger and more impressive the specifications, the better. Toys for boys, shall we say?

foto: www.philipdriessen.com

foto: www.philipdriessen.com

I watched with childlike curiosity as the Mammoet Company arrived on site with a formidable crane and attached slings to our boiler. Secretly, I hoped the crane wouldn’t be able to handle the weight and an even larger one would need to be brought in. Obviously, I knew better.

The crane operator checked his dials, saw all was well, and the colossus was removed. Without too much fuss, it was as if the 9000-kilo load was made of paper when it was hauled from its pedestal and placed on a flatbed trailer. Like a kid playing Meccano again but on a building site, I was in my element; not entirely because of the dynamics of building the beautiful new Lumière, but due to an old passion: cranes.

foto: www.philipdriessen.com

Meanwhile, there was some serious digging for the underground area where three screening rooms will be built below ground level. Next week, heavy equipment will drill a retaining wall, which will form a rough-skin barrier between the land and water. This will ensure that the excavation can continue until the desired depth is reached. It’s deep beneath the water table, so the next challenge has already presented itself.

I’m looking forward to it!

By Nico Haenen