The Brussels Palais de Justice has been a prisoner of its scaffolding for almost 40 years.
Inside the monumental constructing, reputed to be the l**argest constructed in the 19th century**, water is leaking inflicting rubble to fall, the basement is in a nasty state and there are holes within the ceiling.
But now the inexperienced mild has been given to renovate the decrepit palace.
“There is quite a discomfort, there are courtrooms and offices that look more like slums than rooms where justice is delivered,” says Jean de Codt, President of the Court of Cassation.
At 160 by 150 meters and a complete floor floor of 26,000 m², the constructing –and its scaffolding –can be seen from most components of town.
Belgium’s federal authorities will put €1.5 million apart to renovate the scaffolding, which was put up in 1984.
“It’s a little bit like if plasters had been put on the Mona Lisa. It is an extraordinary work of art that is disfigured, that is gagged, as if a mask had been put on it that prevents from speaking,” says de Codt.
“It is important that this scaffolding is taken down so that the Palais can once again play its role as a book of stone”.
Nathalie Minnen, chief clerk on the French-speaking court docket of First Instance says the hall “is at risk of collapse. In places, the ground is subsiding and there is no guarantee that the ground is stable.”
There is concern about holding trials and for the right conduct of hearings, in response to Minnen, who believes the constructing is a logo of justice for the individuals who work there. It “honestly cannot remain in this state,” she says. “I think it is high time to act. That’s why I made it a priority.”
Reinforcing the scaffolds is step one within the renovation works. After the façade on Place Poelaert, which incorporates the doorway, the esplanade and the bottom of the palace’s dome can be restored, as will the façades on Rue des Minimes, Rue aux Laines and Rue de Wynants.
“When we installed this scaffolding in 1984, it was to do work that was never done. And so that’s what’s actually a bit annoying in my position, I admit,” says Mathieu Michel, Secretary of State for constructing renovation.
“So the first thing to do is to reinforce the scaffolding to be able to carry out the work that was planned in 1984.”
“And you can imagine that if they were planned in 1984, they are all the more indispensable today,” says Mathieu Michel, Secretary of State for constructing renovation.”
The full renovation is predicted to be accomplished by 2030.