Everywhere in the world, we can see former industrial places left abandoned, with a luxurious flora growing on them. Luckily for us, some cities decided to reuse these places to make something new and wonderful with it. Here are three of those amazing former industrial sites:
Dolni Vitkovice (also called The lower Vítkovice Area) is a former enormous steel foundry located in the Vitkovice district in Ostrava, Czech Republic, that was set up in 1828 and had its activities stopped in 1998. It is now registered in the list of European cultural heritage. When the foundry was still used, it was composed of three different parts: a coal mine, coke ovens, and blast furnaces, that people can still visit nowadays. Since the end of its industrial activities, the Lower Vitkovice Area has been transformed into an enormous cultural, educational and professional area, and is actually the third most touristic place in the Czech Republic ( it welcomed 1.55 million people in 2017). With its cinema, the former gasometer that has been turned into a big multicultural hall, the two museums, one dedicated to the technical and industrial world and the other dedicated to the mine, and its really modern auditorium, The lower Vitkovice Area can please everybody from children who come with their schools or families to professionals who can enjoy seminars and conferences in this amazing place. Workshops are also organized all along the year since an entire part of the site is dedicated to art. The area is also really famous for the multi-genre music festival it hosts every year: Colours Of Ostrava. This festival had its first edition in 2002 and since then, it received many awards and was finally rated as one of the 10 best festivals in Europe by the Guardian in 2016. Indeed, in addition to the beautiful and surprising site, the festival is located to, it offers people theatre and dance performances, films, art activities, workshops and many more activities besides concerts. It is definitely a great example of a successful transformation of a formerly industrial place.
Laurentian Museum Of Contemporary Arts :
The Museum Of Contemporary Arts is a former courthouse in Saint Jérome, Canada, that has been transformed into a museum in the 1980s. The building is called the Claude-Henri-Grignon cultural center. Built in 1923 in a Beaux-Arts style to host the courthouse, it became the host of several sociocultural and communal organisms from 1970 under the name of “Vieux Palais”, when the Ministry of Justice moved somewhere else. In 1977, the city of St Jerome tried to turn the “Vieux Palais” into a temporary art gallery for paint artist François Thivierge, and then other artists had their pieces exposed in the gallery. In the same year, the “Vieux Palais” almost got destroyed but was saved in extremis by several artists and the Council of Culture. Finally, in 1978, the art gallery of the “Vieux Palais” was officially inaugurated. It hosted several artists until 1984 when it had to be relocated because of restoration works. The same year, the Museum was accredited and became officially a museal institution. Finally, in 2003, it changed its name to become the Museum Of Contemporary Arts in the Laurentians. Now, in addition to its art exhibitions, the Museum organizes school workshops to make children discover arts and hosts several cultural and educational events all along the year. It is so successful that it received loads of awards and recognition in the fields of culture and tourism and this success is not going to stop.
Les Capucins are a former Capuchin convent located in Brest, France that have been transformed into workshops, and then a cultural and commercial center with an indoor skatepark since 2009. The place, that had its construction started in 1695, takes its name from the Capuchin Friars Minors who were living in the Recouvrance neighborhood ( where it is located) at the time. In the 18th century, the convent was transformed into a hospital because of the several typhus epidemics that struck Brest, and then, in 1801, it became gunner apprentices’ barracks for the Brest Naval Arsenal. In the 19th century, the place was almost entirely destroyed and then rebuilt to become workshops, still for the Brest Naval Arsenal that used these workshops to create new propulsion machinery. A foundry workshop, a fitting workshop, an assembly workshop and a workshop for making and assembling boilers were quickly added. During the Second World War, Les Capucins was almost totally destroyed and the only remains of the former convent and workshops we can still see nowadays are its stonewalls. After the War, the Brest Naval Arsenal reconstructed the workshops but used it less and less with time, and finally sold it to the City of Brest in 2009. In order to make the right bank of Brest more attractive, the City turned the former workshops into an exhibition, sportive and cultural events center that is easily accessible from the left bank of Brest (the city center) thanks to a cable car that has been inaugurated in 2016. In 2017, Les Capucins inaugurated its huge media library that also offers people board and video games. The next project for this former industrial place is a cinema that is supposed to be inaugurated in 2020. With all the things happening in Les Capucins, there is no doubt that with time, the left bank of Brest will become the trendiest place in the City.
All these places are really incredible and offer a lot of various activities to people, as long as amazing architectures. Full of histories, they all teach the lucky ones who go there a part of their past and show that wonders can be created with abandoned buildings. This is definitely the best way to reuse former industrial places.