The Waterhuys or Brouwershuis from 1553 is one of the last remnants of Antwerp’s golden age. AG Vespa will begin in mid-November with the complete restoration of this unique protected monument. The end of the works is planned for 2024, after which the building will be given a new meaning. The Flemish Government contributes to the works with a heritage grant of 1,053,000 euros.
The masonry, jointing and plastering work will be restored, as will all natural blue and white stonework, stained glass windows, ironwork, and interior and exterior carpentry. The stability of the beams, the floor and the ceiling will also be addressed. To improve access to the large tank in the basement, there will be a new steel staircase and walking platform. Crucial to the project was the restoration of the horse mill with the lifting mechanism, water tanks and cast iron pumps. In addition to renewing electricity and lighting. The new air conditioning system aims to ensure optimum preservation of the gold leather in the council chamber and the water filtration system handles the closed water circuit of the mill and pump installation.
The Waterhuys or Brouwershuis in Adriaan Brouwerstraat were built in 1553-1554 by Antwerp speculator and project developer and urban scientist Gilbert van Schönbeck. Breweries were made near the “pure” water of Schijn. From Kempen and through the jackets, the water was carried into a beer pipe, the entrance to which is still located under the Ankerruiplaats, leading to the Brouwershuis vault tank. A still intact horse mill – a mill in which a horse or horse provides thrust – drives gears with which water was collected in a basement tank and poured into the external tank on the ground. From there it was distributed via a pipeline system to its 16 affiliated breweries. Brouwershuis was Antwerp’s first water distribution center and operated until 1930.
Photos: © Dries Luyten
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