A "crazy" Building Project

A "crazy" Building Project

Maison folie

The architects from NOX have given new life to an old textile factory and have altered a whole city this way.

In many European cities there are plenty of them: Factory halls, production sites and storage buildings from the era of industrialization. Only a few of them are still used the way they were used back then. But many of the well-known examples such as the Zeche Karl coal washing plant in Essen in Germany or 192, Shoreham Street in Sheffield in England show diversified and interesting new usage possibilities of former industrial buildings. Many cities have realized the possibilities these building have thanks to their size and historical context. The city of Lille in the north of France followed this example by reconstructing an old textile factory.

A new Face for a grey City

Lille, near the Border of Belgium, has been characterized since its foundation by the trading industry. Along with the industrial revolution the city also became home of some important producing industries. Mainly textile and machine producing factories were built here. Their downfall during the 1960s marked the beginning of a long crisis.

With refurbishing run-down quarters of the city the cityscape eventually changed. The erection of the new business quarter Euralille from 1988 and the cultural project Lille 2004, during which Lille became Europe’s cultural capital, marked the most important points on the way to a new face of the city.

Part of the project Lille 2004 are the Maisons Folie. In the region all around Lille and also in Belgium all in all twelve abandoned industrial buildings have been restructured.

The complex Maison Folie de Wazemmes, having evolved during that time, provides a blend of art-related functions such as exhibition rooms and artists’ apartments inside the renovated textile factory and a new multi-purpose hall. Thanks to its rich choice of activities the project has created a vivid exchange within the quarter of Wazemmes. This way the artists live at the heart of the city and get encouraged to exchange ideas with the locals.

City within the City

The core piece of Maison Folie de Wazemmes is the new building used for concerts, theater performances and fashion shows, Salle de Spectacles, designed by Lars Spuybroek from NOX Architekten. The architect from Rotterdam created a building representing the multi-facetedness of the program of Maison Folie as well as the uniqueness of the old building alike.  

Due to the many different uses a very accurate handling of the premises turned out to be necessary. The exchange between the various functions has been achieved through an architecture of continuity. A large coherent area connects the playground, the bakery, the art school, the exhibition rooms with the accommodations of the artists and the Salle de Spectacles.

The biomorphic Shape, the connecting Element

A wave-shaped landscape enables unexpected encounters and connects the various spatial programs with each other.

In front of the new building’s black volume a filigree mesh façade has been hung. This shiny shell appears almost holographic due to its wave-shaped surface. Depending on the angle of the light coming in the people passing by keep getting another impression. Through this impressive façade the NOX architects have created a sight that has become a brand and a center of attraction for the city.

Today Maison Folie de Wazemmes serves as a meeting point for local, national and international artists and organizations, giving the city a new and exciting face.

Project details




Start of construction: 2001

Completed: 2004


Premises: 5,395 m²


City of Lille


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valyspin's picture
valyspin 2. December 2014 - 13:21

Any construction that has been recently built needs to have a non-destructive testing, if the owner wants to open it for the public. The ChemRef Company does such inspections and other types of inspections, like new facility construction or maintenance inspection. These are useful if the owner wants to respect all the legal terms for a new construction.

clodymony's picture
clodymony 12. December 2014 - 18:41

This building looks amazing! The architects did a great job and they created a modern and elegant building. It has an interesting siding like those from http://www.sidingstl.com/ and from outside, it doesn't seem to be a factory.

clodymony's picture
clodymony 18. December 2014 - 21:01

This is definitely a crazy building project! The architecture is very interesting and unique. Moreover its interior looks great and besides being a factory, there are also some offices decorated with modern furniture such as those great Moduform steel shelves.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 23. December 2014 - 13:16

It would be great if these old buildings could be used for a new purpose while retaining their old charm. The architect has to strike a balance here, he needs to reshape the building in a manner where people could feel its old charm and appreciate its modern appeal. It would be a great idea to use mosaic tiles for this purpose, one could find a great collection of such material at http://inoversialtiles.com/.

clodymony's picture
clodymony 5. January 2015 - 19:49

This building looks awesome! It has a very interesting architecture and it was made by using a steel square tubing as you may see on AllMetalsInc.com. There are many buildings like this one all over the world and each of them is unique.

billmarket17's picture
billmarket17 23. January 2015 - 9:06

It may be a crazy building project, but for certain, when it will be ready it will look astonishing. The constructor has a long way to go until he will finish it, meanwhile, he should be prepared with all the building materials and equipments. You can try here to search for different construction materials and also professionals who will work for you gladly.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 13. April 2015 - 8:40

The architects are certainly thinking out of the box and that is why they are being able to transform such old factory. However, those who own or have bought an old house they should consider renovating it to make it a better place for living. You can create an elegant decor here if you furnish it with beautiful fleur de lis furniture.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 23. June 2015 - 13:58

The old factory has indeed been transformed in a remarkable manner. However, you can also change your old house in such beautiful manner if you hire the right remodeling contractor. You can find the details of the contractor at http://renovationexperts.com/ask_remodeling_contractor.asp?Project_Type=Remodeling%20and%20Room%20Additions.

modhuleenab's picture
modhuleenab 27. June 2015 - 9:56

The old textile factory has been renovated in a brilliant manner, it is a pointer to the fact that such buildings could be renovated and reused. However, during construction work one has to move heavy machinery and equipment, using caster wheels could make the process simpler, these caster wheels are available at an affordable price online at http://www.accesscasters.com/.

valyspin's picture
valyspin 23. July 2015 - 13:42

Because a construction project can not be finished if the electrical system isn't installed, the owner should buy the best electrical products and also an electrical testing equipment to check the entire installation in order to see if it is working. Using only the best construction materials and products will guarantee a well built building, even though you brag that it is a crazy building project.