Jonathan Tuckey Design is part of the team who have been shortlisted to reimagine the 19th Century Houben Tannery in Viroinval, Belgium, into an inspiring place to stay and a gateway to natural beauty.

In 1876, Théodore Houben, an industrialist who had founded a leather currying workshop in Verviers, bought the Communal Oven, at the foot of the Roche à Lomme (Lomme Rock), to create a tannery in order to prepare the hides and supply his Verviers factory with leather. The huge oak forests nearby, as well as the presence of the 3 waterways providing hydraulic power, made it an ideal location. The business thrived and enjoyed its heyday in the interwar period. From 1953 onwards, with the removal of the dam on the Viroin, the water supply became more uncertain, resulting in the ceasing of the tannery’s operation in 1981.

We are looking forward to envisioning the grounds of this industrial landmark as an ecological harbour for the entire region – a meeting place across cultural expressions. The essence of our intervention lies in the search for a balance between restoring and preserving the monumental atmosphere of the past and the sober integration of new elements typical of contemporary comfort. This trade-off between the revaluation of the monument and the new function in its architectural condition can summarise our approach as “dynamic preservation”.

We are very happy to be working alongside BC Architects, BAS bvba again and we will be submitting our proposal in October.