Frozen time

Frozen time
Het ‘Groen Kwartier’
from an old military hospital
to a green residential site.

 

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The military hospital in Antwerp was built between 1899 and 1911 on a fortification dating back to 1851. Adaptations to the buildings went on until 1970.

As a military complex the site was off-limits for civilians but had a huge socio-economical influence on the surrounding residential areas.

From 1993, when the hospital was closed, until 2007 the vast site was abandoned and kind of forgotten and looked

like a ghost town within the city.Since 2007 the consortium of project developers Wilma & Vanhaerents are turning the site in to a green residential area with 404 housing units : lofts, apartments and houses.

As a photographer I’m following the building process since 2009. From the ground as well as from the air.

A few weeks before the rebuilt of a classified building starts I’m asked to make a reportage of the state the buildings are in and to focus on characteristic details and ornamentation. As the buildings have been empty for decades they are in a deplorable state. And that adds a lot of drama and charm. It is kind of ‘urban exploring’, on demand.Last week I shot the most recent set of pictures in the old gate house with the p45+ and the Arca R3dmi.

It is like freezing time while capturing the decayed remains of an era. Pure nostalgia.

When I visit the site a few weeks later the buildings are stripped and the builders are restoring the brick walls and the bluestone and cast iron ornamentation.

Just a few months later the old buildings are reconverted in to state of the art lofts. And the new inhabitants have moved in.

It is going to take several more years before the whole site is completed. But it is a hot spot already: Sergio Herman a famous 3 Michelin star chef has bought the old chapel in the middle of the site to convert it into a restaurant… jummy.

like a ghost town within the city.Since 2007 the consortium of project developers Wilma & Vanhaerents are turning the site in to a green residential area with 404 housing units : lofts, apartments and houses.

As a photographer I’m following the building process since 2009. From the ground as well as from the air.

A few weeks before the rebuilt of

a classified building starts I’m asked to make a reportage of the state the buildings are in and to focus on characteristic details and ornamentation. As the buildings have been empty for decades they are in a deplorable state. And that adds a lot of drama and charm. It is kind of ‘urban exploring’, on demand.Last week I shot the most recent set of pictures in the old gate house with the p45+ and the Arca R3dmi. Have a look at this picture

to get an idea of the detail the camera captures. (you can zoom in and scroll)

It is like freezing time while capturing the decayed remains of an era. Pure nostalgia.

When I visit

the site a few weeks later the buildings are stripped and the builders are restoring the brick walls and

the bluestone and cast iron ornamentation.

Just a few months later the old buildings are reconverted in to state of the art lofts. And the new inhabitants have moved in.

 

GKloft_012 gkloft_012 gkloft_029

 

It is going to take several more years before the whole site is completed. But it is a hot spot already: Sergio Herman a famous 3 Michelin star chef has bought the old chapel in the middle of

the site to convert it into a restaurant… jummy.

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