GES053 - Val Benoit Uni, Leige (Chemistry & Metallurgy Building), Belgium
The campus opened in 1937 with this building, and the campus was emptied in 2006. Full write up on this excellent site by Belgium's top explorer.
Continuing the Belgian trip with GES031 and GES032, we pulled into the town of Liege. After navigating the wonderful one way streets and incorrect signs, we finally pulled up outside the Uni. GES032 was immediately non-plussed about this one. A lack of rope based descending and questionable liquid flows in pipes being absent, he set off to find an ATM and check his finances. GES031 was initially interested, however, being of a certain age, lunchtime was nap time, and he opted to go and sleep in the car.
I hoped over an obvious wall that had been used before, and started to look for ways into the building. I came across a terrapin building like structure, that provided easy access. So I popped in. It appeared to have been used by a geology department, and judging by the syringes lying about, the local heroin users. Trays of rock samples
There were also some rather old bits of computer equipment, and draws full of punch cards.
Not finding much else of interest, and also not managing to find an obvious route into a building. I returned to street level where i'd left the others. I'd seen a way into the building, but it looked a little obvious for broad daylight. Some coaches were parked up nearby, so I went to see whether they were occupied, and what their field of view was. A lot of times people get caught exploring, it's down to nosy members of the public. It felt clear, so I waited for a lull in the traffic going by on the corner, and quick as I could, climbed into the building. I came out in a stairwell, and descended down into the main entrance area of the building.
A corridor went off to the left and right, so I chose to go right.
The first door that opened came into a classroom. It looked like a certain French explorer had been here, judging by his name on the top half of the board. The class on 'Exploring 101' was somewhat underwhelmed.
When there's chalk about and a blackboard, it's always time to have a laugh. Detention class for the bad boys, and girl.
At the back of the above classroom was an interesting array of electric cables, climbing the walls like well arranged and considerate Ivy.
As I stepped out into the corridor, a security guard stepped out from the room next to the one I was in. I froze waiting for the inevitable, but it never came. Some how he must have been so into his thoughts that he didn't see me. I slowly stepped back into the room, and walked through the classroom in the opposite direction to the way the guard was walking. And skipped off deeper into the University. I did what I normally do in a building explore, I went to the top floor, with the intention of working my way down.
The upper floors were mainly full of labs of various types and descriptions. Complex chemical formula's were written on blackboards in the area for the chemical and Metallurgy experiments.
On the very top floor, in a small roof section, sat this room. I couldn't ascertain what it's use was. The room had a experimental feel to it, but I couldn't work out what the basket like device was for.
Stairwell down to lower floor.
Another classroom, neater than the one above. Some sort of monitoring pulpit at the back of the class, something i'd not seen before.
Nicely laid out stairs with tiling and typical Interwar styled glass panels.
Similar tiling and stair layout in a grand reception area. The area behind the tiled layout and up the stairs, leads to a large lecture hall. There are two large lecture halls with similar layout, and they sit on top of each other. The other large lecture hall sits behind the main building reception, see Pic 3 above.
The upper main lecture theatre, showing obvious signs of neglect. In situations like these where there is no one about, the child sometimes returns to my head, and makes me want to run about waving my hands in the air and run down the lecture desks. However I don't.
The building is typically rectangular, common for such education buildings, and through the middle runs a thin set of connecting corridors.
More experiment labs with basins on the end. All the desks have isolation sections installed with extractor exhausts to remove pollutants into the atmosphere above Liege.
Another angle showing the isolation sections.
Another lab and somewhere that less dangerous experiments would likely have been conducted.
A large isolation section outside of any lab rooms. it was while walking around this area that I noticed a figure down a corridor. It didn't look like security, so I assumed it was another explorer. I cut across the building to the other side, and met him coming towards me. He didn't have a camera, wasn't security, and appeared too well dressed to be a thief. I wasn't quite sure what he was doing there. He didn't appear or want to speak English, so the meeting mostly involved hello and goodbye.
This room was for the more involved experiments, there were explosive hazard symbols here and there. The strong chamber on the left for containing explosive reactions.
I was rather taken by the font on this monitoring piece of equipment.
A grand entrance into the 2nd floor I think, from the stairwells.
The floor below the thin connection corridors shown above. Countless were just abandoned here.
Out of place to the design for the rest of the building, this narrow staircase leads up to the top floor. Around the walls in this area were various pieces of art and adverts painted onto walls.
A large poster wallpapered onto the wall in the same area as the pic above.
Corridor between classrooms on the
smaller classroom, with view out into the quadrangle.
Some of the rest of the University I sadly didn't have time to explore.
Ground floor single level lecture room.
Nature's tenacious determination to reclaim, as it's seeps through the windows.
When exploring, one often sees examples of wastage. Here was a large collection of what appeared to be yearbooks or faculty staff guides. Still kept in their cellophaned boxes.
The ground floor lecture theatre, that sits behind the main entrance. As before the child mentality just seems to want to come to the fore, and jumping onto the desk seemed the right thing to do. Written on the board were a number of explorer names I recognised from the UK.
The building is built over 2 levels, with the main entrance onto the street, but the building opens out onto the campus at a lower level. The stairs descend to what is effectively the basement. Again the level of detail and design is high, clearly a building built before the countries of Europe were bankrupted by WWII and became debt slaves to America. The wooden font above the doors, the curved stair rails and ceiling beams.
Light bursts through into the basement storage room. These samples similar to the ones in the terrapin like building outlined at the top of the site write-up.
The basement section of the thin corridors that split the main quadrangle of the building. Nature again eyeing up the interior for reclamation.
More basement storage with racks.
The darkest of the basement rooms, and yet I was still able to get texts from GES031 asking when I was going to finish as they wanted to get a move on.
The last of the building to see, a room single pane patterned glass in the door.
And with that I set about going back up to the ground floor to see about exiting. I was looking behind an area just by the main doors when I realised I was in clear view of the outside street. Unfortunately for me there was a security chap dressed in black outside. I'm almost certain he saw me, as I quickly darted for cover. I then found a window I could carefully peer out of and ensure the guard was out of the way. But he seemed keen to loiter near my access point. GE031 was still texting/ringing for me to get out. I explained the situation. I sat for luckily no more than 5 minutes watching the guard before he sauntered off. I went back to the access point, had a quick look out, and then dropped down to the street, walking quickly off to the corner I met GE031 and GE032 walking towards me. It was then into the car and off to Brussels.