Amicale Solvay, Belgium
The Amicale Solvay located in Couillet , a section of the Belgian city of Charleroi , was considered to be an important brick building with a flat roof designed by architect Eléazar Cozac and built in 1937-1939 by the Solvay Company. It housed - among other things - a swimming pool, a performance hall as well as a restaurant.
The architecture of this building was made in two perfectly identical copies. The second being located in Jemeppe-sur-Sambre in belgium. The facade is hollowed out in its center by a large semi-circle sheltering the hall and the monumental stairwell lit by a circular glass roof . On either side is a narrow glass roof giving verticality and lightness to the facade. The other sides are pierced with high windows with metal frames.
It was built for the use of factory personnel, and the swimming pool opened fairly quickly to the public and notably welcomed schools and clubs in the nearby region.
Until 1994 , it remained the property of the Solvay company whereby the Free University of Brussels bought it. The swimming pool was beginning to get old and tired looking and subsequently maintenance and repairs became too expensive to keep open in its then current form. In 1998, the swimming pool was abandoned and it began its long process of decay.
In 2000, the building was listed as a Walloon heritage.
At the end of 2005 , the old swimming pool was bought again by the non-profit organization CIECD (European Islamic Center for Culture and Dialogue). Work was undertaken after the sale. but remained at a standstill due to the association's financial problems.
In 2016, despite legal obligation for the ASBL to maintain this building in a correct state - even in the case where the building is classified as Walloon heritage - there was no feeback from the owners and the decay worsened.
As for the state of the property, a health sheet has been established, it identified the urgent work to be carried out. This sheet was not binding and in the system of Walloon heritage law, it is updated every 5 years. Which brings us back to 2026. If no regularisation occurs within this period, the competent regional authority can then replace the defaulting owner through the municipalities and provinces, or expropriate him for public utility. The procedure is long. We can fear that within 10 years, the building will be doomed to demolition if nothing has changed.
2022: According to Luc Parmentier, Ecolo municipal councilor in Charleroi;
The current owner of the building must pay municipal taxes. It should therefore not be very difficult to go back to him to ask him to account for the dilapidation of the premises. It is high time to act because, in a few years, this building will have to be demolished, which is all the same the architectural testimony of a certain era.
It remains to be seen if the building is saved or falls to the ground.