Triage Lavoir de Péronnes lez Binche


This is ‘Triage Lavoir de Péronnes lez Binche’. The coal sorting and washing plant was finished in 1954. Coal coming from the mines of Péronnes, Ressaix and Trivières was processed here. It was capable of processing over 3 thousand tons of coal daily. The plant was built with the assistance and appropriations of the Marshall Plan.

The closure of the nearby coal mines in Saint-Albert and Sint-Margriete in 1969 rendered the Triage-Lavoir obsolete, leading to its shutdown after just 15 years of service. Following its closure, all machinery and equipment were stripped away, leaving behind a vast concrete skeleton. The structure, exceeding 7,500 m², reminds us of the famous Escher drawings. It is a labyrinth of concrete pillars and multi-level staircases, with the pervasive presence of gray, stark concrete wherever one looks.


The building faced the risk of demolition in 2000, but was designated as a monument worthy of preservation on May 15, 2003. In 2006, the Walloon Region allocated 50 million euros for the site’s rehabilitation. Subsequently, the facade underwent repairs, received a fresh coat of paint, and had new windows fitted. However, the restoration work came to a halt. It wasn’t until 2016 that efforts around the building recommenced, leading to the construction of a new underground museum on the premises. The coal washing plant is expected to accommodate several entities, including The General Archives of the Royalty, the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences of Belgium, which stores coal and fossil core samples, a professional development center, and some private offices.

Time has passed, and the reconversion projects have failed one after the other. In total, 7.5 million in subsidies were spent on the Société Anonyme  Triage Lavoir du Center,  which was responsible for finding a new use for the site. In 2022 the government stopped the financing, as a result the future of the building is again uncertain. I visited ‘Triage Lavoir de Péronnes lez Binche’ in 2005, 2011 and 2017.

Built 1954
Abandoned 1969
Reconverted 2010-2019