The Chambre du Commerce is a Late-Gothic trade center, located in a busy Belgian city close to a crowded shopping center.
The origins date back to 1531 and it has burned down twice [in 1583 and 1858]. Around 1853 the square and galleries were covered with a dome, modeled on Crystal Palace in London. Today the building is in a dilapidated state. In 2003 it was closed following a fire-safety report. Despite the decline, the majestic building and rich decorations still exude the grandeur of past times. The trade center closed in 1997 and the building has remained empty and neglected ever since. There are plans for a new future; a private investor hopes to renovate the building and make space for a grand café and restaurant. The city issued an ambitious plan for a luxurious 5-star hotel, but in practice very little happened to give the building a new life. Some parts of the exterior are covered in scaffolding to prevent more damage and collapse. “I have visited this place many times. Its beauty and magic continue to inspire me. Each time I came, the light and shadow performed a different dance on the building’s beautiful shapes and textures.”
“It was magical being inside this building so many times in the beautiful late-afternoon sun. Though I was joined by some curious pigeons, there were no people around to disturb me. It’s the perfect place for deep meditation. Despite the crowded and noisy shopping center just around the corner, one can find peace here. Hopefully, this majestic property will be saved from becoming a ruin by an extensive reconstruction that retains its beauty and authenticity.”