OF THE SITE
Pre-Madame, the site of the FN arms factory in
Belgium - a very important place in the
Originally the FN factory started in 1889 and
was built to manufacture armaments. At the
beginning of the 20th century its activities
developed rapidly, so much so, that in 1929 the
existing workshops were extended. This then
became the origin of the present site.
On the 4,8
hectares of this new site, two oversize twin
buildings (180 X 94 m and 210 X 73 m) were
constructed on two levels. Resting on a forest
of 650 pillars of foundations, the upper level
of the buildings was designed to support the
circulation of heavy vehicles (1500 kg/m2).
The new workshops housed in 70.000 m2 of this
industrial fortress began working at full
production capacity. In addition to armaments,
the FN branched out into the manufacture of new
products: cars, trucks, motor cycles, buses,
aircraft engines, etc…
began in the mid 1960's. Production began to
decline, products moved elsewhere and over the
space of several years the workforce declined
from 12,000 to less than 2,000.
In 1991, NEW
MARKET SA, bought the abandoned buildings :
Pre-Madame became an industrial area and
warehousing for small to medium enterprises.
Activities began again in the lower part of the
buildings but the upper half remained almost
empty. Because of this, the upper part of the
buildings began to degrade. Demolition of the
unit would be possible only at an exorbitant
must live, survive, live again. The Pre-Madam
will be transformed into an éco-village.