Ateliers Centraux d’Ougrée
THE ABANDONED WORKSHOP IN BELGIUM
‘Ateliers Centraux d’Ougrée’ are the repair workshops, storage halls and offices of Cockerill, a big steel plant. It is situated in the heart of the steel industry, the Liege region in Belgium.
The first industrial activities on this site begins around 1854 when a zinc oxide plant was built here. The zinc oxide was used in paint and coatings to prevent corrosion. Zinc oxide is also a component of many other materials and tools, for example concrete, rubber, and glass. A foundry was built in the 1860s. The original activities continued at this location until the end of the 1920s.
The site was then purchased by the Ougrée-Marihaye company in 1937. As a result, the zinc plant was partly demolished to build these large industrial halls. A railroad cross the site from west to east, the rail is used for the transport of cast iron between the blast furnaces and the steelworks. From 1980 until the year 1990, the Cockerill-Ougrée company enlarges the halls and frequently reorganizes its use.
Activities gradually slowed down in the late 1990s. After the year 2000, both maintenance and storage activities are discontinued, except for a few small buildings used as offices or depots, the Ateliers Centraux are abandoned. The company was a victim of the crisis and the site was left unused just after the two blast furnaces, HF6 and HFB, closed down. The steel factory was named ArcelorMittal at that time, the result of many merges with other steel plants over the years.
The photos of the abandoned ‘Ateliers Centraux d’Ougrée’ were taken during two visits in 2017 and 2018. The building will be reconverted soon. The rehabilitation of the site started in 2021, the buildings will be partly demolished. The new site will eventually house a new car park, offices, a pedestrian/bicycle bridge, a park, and a music hall.