Bureau Central

Probably the first thing you think when you see this office building is: “this must have been one ridiculously rich company”, which is right. It belonged to a family that aquired a mighty industrial and political position by building the biggest iron enterprise in their region. The works started in the late 1700s and in the late 1800s they were among the richest families in France. The enterprise was at its peak just before the Second World War broke out. Then the family had to leave and the factories were confiscated by the German forces. After the war the works continued but new problems arose; coal mines were nationalised and the last forging expert of the family died. During the 70’s a worldwide drop in the demand for steel brought the once great steel empire to a halt. The family converted the company to an investment company.

Most of the blast furnaces and buildings have been demolished but bits and pieces remain, such as this exquisite central office building. It was built in the late 1800s and expanded in the early 1900s. The building has been abandoned since the late 1970s, meaning it has been exposed to the elements for over 35 years! It’s a small miracle that no graffiti can be found inside; most of the damage is done by Mother Nature. As soon as I saw photos of this building I knew I had to pay it a visit. It’s the perfect balance of old architecture, decay and grandeur which makes my heart beat a bit faster.