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One year after fire, reconstruction of Bozar roof to begin

Illustration picture taken at the aftermath of a fire that broke out on the roof of the BOZAR building in the center of Brussels, Tuesday 19 January 2021. (BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT)
05:33 18/01/2022

A year after the fire which partially destroyed the roof on the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts, Bozar, renovation work to repair the damage has finally started.

The fire, which took place on 18 January 2021, was initially thought to have just damaged a section of the roof but further investigation in the wake of the blaze showed that the Henry Le Boeuf concert hall and the organ housed there also suffered.

The fact that the fire took place on a Monday, traditionally Bozar’s closing day, prevented the blaze from causing more serious damage and danger to life. While no visitors were there and no performances taking place, the exhibition hall that was affected had recently been emptied of artworks.

A total of 99 firefighters were mobilised to the scene after the fire broke out on the Monday afternoon, with the blaze eventually under control by 21.30 that evening. As well as the damage caused by the fire itself to the roof, the water used to extinguish it seeped in and caused damage to walls of the exhibition hall, the Henry Le Boeuf hall and the foyer, as well as the doors, chairs, electronic equipment and the organ.

The temporary repairs which were made in the wake of the fire to allow Bozar to reopen will now be replaced by a permanent reconstruction of the damaged roof sections. However, the restoration of the organ will take more time as it has to be done by a specialist and in a traditional manner. This repair work will be put out for tender. A public tender for the repairs to the Henry Le Boeuf hall, the corridors and the foyers will also be issued in the coming weeks.

In order not to interrupt performances, this work will take place during Bozar's summer closure. The reconstruction may be spread over two or three summers.

Written by Nick Amies