Beguin-Massart - Belges Histoires - RTBF
When they met in the lecture halls of their architecture college, Aloys Beguin and Brigitte Massart could never have imagined that their work would one day embellish the city of Liège and make it more beautiful for locals. And yet…
The partnership between these two curious minds began when Aloys won the tender to redevelop Place Saint Léonard. This was quite the challenge, since he had to create a welcoming promenade where a prison had once stood. The goal? To revitalise this neighbourhood at the end of Rue Féronstrée, which had been somewhat overlooked. Today, this wasteland has become a fun, verdant space that the locals have reclaimed, a success for the Beguin-Massart architecture workshop.
For 30 years, the two architects have maintained a fruitful and complementary collaboration, which has allowed them to work on a number of projects of varying scales: they have designed private homes, redesigned public spaces, restored listed buildings (the project to extend the treasury in the Cathedral), received awards and citations (in Belgium and internationally), worked on stage designs for exhibitions and designed pieces of furniture. Finally, they recently won the tender for the extension and renovation of the Mad Musée/Trinkhall Museum. For this project, they were nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award in 2020.
No element of the former building can be perceived today. An annex has been added and the building has been enclosed in a type of dome, an opaline net with fluid contours that stands like a beacon in the heart of the city. This translucent building never allows the sun in, but instead softens and soothes the light to sublimate it, without damaging the pieces conserved in the museum.
Carl Havelange, the museum's artistic director, was delighted with the result and sang its praises: ‘We must replace the pride of conquest with the humility of hospitality. This clearly explains the interplay of the architecture and the set design. The architects and I have fully integrated the rules for this game.’
For Brigitte Massart, architects must take the dream of the person who has commissioned the work and bring it to life and make it a reality. However, architecture is both a space and a light passing through a window. In the city, this means a building that you encounter, appreciate and which, ultimately, forms the backdrop for your life.
In any case, Aloys Beguin and Brigitte Massart have undoubtedly played a role in embellishing this backdrop.