Steenbakkerij Lauwers

Abandoned: 2006

Demolished: 2009

Visited: 2007

Noeveren, Belgium

The local brick industry in Boom went through a serious crisis. Nowadays there are only 5 factories left from the 150 active factories near the river Rupel. Not only the production of new construction materials and the competition of the brickyards from other regions were to blame. The recession in the construction industry and the enormous increase of the energy prices since 1974 had ensured that between 1975 and 1985 many brickyards went bankrupt or simply stopped their activities.

2006

Lauwers was the only craft industry who survived the 1990s. When in the other factories extraction of clay and producing of bricks became mechanical, Lauwers still produced the old-fashioned manual way. When the buildings got a protected status, it was the beginning of the end. Environmental laws ordered the Lauwers brothers to build new high chimneys, but the monumental status doesn’t allow a rebuilding of the original buildings. In 2006 the last brick is produced. The monumental part is now a brick industry museum; the other parts I explored are demolished in 2009.

Photos Steenbakkerij Lauwers

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