2017 Lars HenkesLars Henkes & Ralf Louges - Reconversion of the ïlot St. George
The “îlot St. George” acts as a stranger in the historical context in the center of Liège, which does not only relate to its architectural language and dimensions but also the connection to the urban network of the oldest quarter in Liège. Built in the 70, today the building doesn’t correspond anymore to its initial purpose of a museum for regional art and the city administration. Windowless facades, unused space and lacks of pathways lead to further decay. The conversion reintegrates the building in its context and knits new connections to its neighborhood.
The intervention uses the existing structure of the currently empty exterior space by creating a play of smaller squares and patios, altering exterior and interior, covered and open. The building creates all on its own new natural circulation, inviting the visitors to explore the complex little by little. Not denying the dominant structured facade of the old building, the new part responds with its own structural concept defined by the strong existing grid. The now easy accessible space offers new opportunities for public functions as a new library and temporary exposition space, while the archives are protected by the heavy solid facades of the old museum.
The project does everything to preserve the striking and recognizable façade. For this the decision fell for an interior insulation reaching one meter inside the building. It is neatly integrated in the specially designed furniture containing additional space for archives. Most of the time reaching from bottom to top it sometimes keeps a gap open for small alcoves which offer an intimate spot even next to the complex existing circulation

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