There might not be a more accurate description of the philosophy behind Antwerp’s notorious boiler room – and its resurrection into STOKERS, a creativity- and opportunity-sparking forum..
Affectionately referred to by locals as ‘stookplaats’ (the Dutch word for ‘boiler room’), this history-filled facility originally fired up its furnaces to warm the wards of the surrounding hospital complex throughout the 20th century.
The ‘Military Hospital Antwerp’ or ‘MHA’ was inaugurated in 1911 by Lieutenant Colonel Waffelaert and was built following the blueprints of French civil engineer Casimir Tollet (advocate of ‘pavilion hospitals’ and natural aeration & ventilation), in an eclectic style with neo-Flemish Renaissance elements. It included not only rooms for up to 120 patients (400 in case of disasters), but also outpatient departments, surgery rooms, a chapel, a monastery and housing for technical employees. All connected by glass hallways and an ingenious labyrinth of underground corridors and piping, through which constant warmth was spread by pumping steam from the boiler room.
No wonder this marvel of a site was occupied twice by the Germans during both World Wars. After its abandonment in 1993, however, it was locked and left unused… until 2006.
Starting then, the entire neighborhood transformed into an internationally acclaimed landmark and – due to the fact that it’s not directly accessible via public roads – a remarkable urban development called
‘Het Groen Kwartier’ (the Green Quarter): a car-free, hidden gem for families and businesses that share an impassioned desire to build and grow. Revived, energized and yet full of charm.
STOKERS, situated at the architectural heart of it all, rose from its ashes and underwent a complete conversion that took several years: ambitious plans tend to cause fundamental challenges. The results speak for themselves… and are one of the reasons you’re reading this article, aren’t they?
Today, the façade of the main building has been completely restored with strong attention to detail and respect to its historical value. The interior features an entirely new structure devised to meet the needs and expectations of today’s fast-paced entrepreneurs and creatives – or to satisfy the Instagrammable ‘ooh and aah’ criteria of event visitors.
Founder André Duval couldn’t be more thrilled: “The old boiler room was built to distribute steam. The new STOKERS is designed to breathe new life into business and social activities, thus sparking opportunities for anyone who pays our monumental facility a visit.”
Are you stoked to swing by? Please do.
SERVICES & AMENITIES
- secluded and professionally-equipped areas for MEETINGS & PRESENTATIONS (4 – 40 pax);
- hospitality facilities for (business) EVENTS & GATHERINGS up to 175 pax;
- …or, given the Corona pandemic, a splendid environment to create LIVESTREAM SESSIONS & WEBINARS;
- (remote) OFFICES & WORKSPACES;
- a ‘CANTEEN’ – which includes our FOOD CORNER.