Expansion continued in the following century. Being the owner, since 1924, of 8 hectares of land around the ruins of the ancient Cistercian Abbey of the Val-Benoit, the Liege University plans to build five new sets: an Institute of Applied Chemistry and Metallurgy, an Institute of Mineral Sciences, a Laboratory of Thermodynamics coupled to a power plant, an Institute of Mechanics and one last Civil Engineering Institute.
Work began in 1930. In November 1937, King Leopold III inaugurated the Institute of Chemistry and Metallurgy, the Institute of Civil Engineering, and the Laboratory of Thermodynamics. The Mechanics Institute was inaugurated shortly before the second world war.
In the late 1950s, the University of Liège embarked on the long adventure of migrating all its activities to the Liège district named Sart Tilman. A little more than twenty years after the inauguration of its first buildings, the premature demise of the Val Benoit campus had been planned. The University of Liege finally left the campus in 2006 (see also the report on the former Veterinary School of Brussels, owned by the University of Liège, which experienced the same tragedy in 1991).
November 6, 2006. The first visit is always an adventure! A large fence with barbed wire surrounds the perimeter. Like any fence, it has a weak point somewhere. Two guards are making rounds, but we manage to get through and enter the ‘general mechanics’ building, using a few light stunts but remaining unnoticed.
The last occupants have just left the place - the move is not even finished, and the corridors are crowded to the ceiling with boxes.
To navigate from one building to another, we must utilize a little creativity; going outside would be too risky. We try the 'U.S. asylum' method: from the central boiler, we have access to the network of underground utility tunnels that serve other buildings on the site. Despite dealing with navel-high icy water – that was not part of the original plan- our method works!
Alarms that are triggered in the civil engineering building, still half-active.
Discovering the chemistry & metallurgy building, remaining unseen.
The canine police unit showing up for training while we pause on a rooftop ...
Novembre 12, 2010. Fourth visit. Four years and five days exactly since my first exploration of Val Benoit. The buildings have suffered a lot, now exposed to all kinds of weather. Only a few windows aren't broken, letting in the cold and rain. Inside the mechanics institute, only a few walls are still untagged. The lab glassware is shattered, beautiful wooden showcases lie upside down, and the exposed samples are scattered all over the floor.
One can just slip in. I meet countless photographers in the afternoon, squatters fleeing the rain and 3 groups of scrap metal dealers who dismantle, break and loot what is left - that is to say: not much. The old university has deteriorated too quickly, in 4 years it looks like 20!
The future is less dark; the buildings will gradually be bought by the city of Liege to be reconstructed. The first scaffolding is already there, and some roofs are being repaired to stop water seepage from damaging the structure.
To be continued, in a couple of years ...
Our car was broken into in the public car park behind the University. It looked not too dodgy, so be careful.
Nous y sommes allés ce 05 et 18 octobre,
ça a beaucoup changé depuis vos photos!
Il n'y a plus que le bâtiment principal qui est accessible et tout est détruit
Aujourd'hui on a vu les copains les vigiles, eux aussi, ils nous ont vu! on descendait les escaliers et ils étaient dehors ce qui nous a laissé le temps de foutre le camp...
On est sorti par les sous sols, et on a découvert alors un autre moyen d'entrée/sortir que par la porte d'entrée principale contre notre volonté et dans le noir!
C'était... EPIC <3
The Val Benoit campus is one of the top locations Belgium has to offer.
If you go there, go on the weekend and make sure to shedule a day at least. Although, last time I was there, the buildings were sealed pretty tight. The door to the mechanics department was open but all the rest was pretty well looked after. Also, G4S security at the gate! Multiple G4S cars parked there to.
Be carefull but also enjoy because it won't last forever. Works are being done to prevent roofs from leaking so I expect the buildings to be reconverted in the near future.
I have been to the val benoit university about 2 weeks ago.
It is quite easy to acces as it is so huge, but also on this site there are many construcion workers which you have to look out for.
I have been about 2 hours in the university and only had the time to visit just 1 building (I also wanted to visit fort de la chartreuse).. It's a huge complex, you will need all the day to visit everything.. mayby even more!
Very awesome pictures! I like these chemical laboratories.
Your site with all these great fotos is breathtaking. I love this site...I´ve linked your site www.forbidden-places.net on my webblog, so that my friends can join in these wonderful amazing pictures and stories about the lost places.
Keep it up!
Very nice report, i have enjoyed reading it. I've been twice to this place and it's marvelous.
The architecture is great. Guards, alarms, weird machines, a lab, a rooftop this place has it all!
I like the history info and very nice pictures
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