Belgium IM Powerstation

Visit in August 2012, This was our second night on the road. We arrived at IM Power plant late at night and after a small confrontation with a Belgium police car on the road, with flash light straight into Danny’s face and then a mumbling of something before turning round with no explanations and then leaving. We then make our way quite easily into the site unnoticed. Pretty tired after a full second day of exploring, we searched for a place to sleep, we walked for ages around the huge site but with no light it was hard to find any access to anything, luckily we found a small garage which we finally managed to get inside and after a couple of beers and a crew shot in the darkness we went to sleep for a couple of hours. At 2am we woke to lights under the crack in the garage door, we sat bolt upright holding our breathe, lots of Belgium’s shouting, a car and people moving outside the garage door, we thought it was all over, but luckily the security who were obviously doing a routine check didn’t think to open the door, even though we had removed the wire they had put there to keep in shut. It happened again 2 hours later, so we slept on edge for the rest of the morning and woke with a mouthful of dirt. Funnily enough at 5am when we emerged out of the garage there was a small window so close to the main building, so we made our way in. The place was absolutely huge! I don’t think I have been in an abandoned room quite of this scale. We wandered round for hours, and climbed to the top which on the rooftop had a perfect view of the cooling tower below. 

As the sun came up I grabbed a shot of the sun rising through a window against all the pipes in the plant. The mass of pipes in this place, made me wonder how one goes about designing (with such symmetry) a place of this scale, it would be quite easy to spend a whole day in here, but we had another full day of locations ahead of us, so after a trip to the nearby cooling tower, we said our farewells to the epic IM Power plant.
We also had a look in the power stations cooling tower. This one is in its original condition – they pump in hot water and it would get colder. They have a layer about 10 metres deep of thin wooden slats that the hot water drips down , making a huge surface area for evaporation. We were lucky that we went to the door and it opened, Ive heard stories of others having to climb up from the bottom. You can walk around in the now dry concrete water channels. In the middle is a concrete funnel covered in green moss its very surreal like a worm hole or a hole to the centre of the earth. The absolute scale of the cooling tower was amazing, being inside felt really strange and every last sound echoed all around. 

‘The origins of this coal-fired power plant are dating back from before WWII. It was extended in the fifties and sixties and was one of the major electricity suppliers in that region. Activities were ceased in 2006. Security measures are taken to preserve the integrity of the place. 24/7 on-site security team, doing interior and exterior patrols at irregular intervals, using a topnotch camera system as a backup. 

Visit in 2013, I love the cooling tower and its been over half a year since I first visited, the last time underneath was completely flooded so this time we wanted to get underneath. On a Euro trip with Romany WG and Wojtek, we decided to give it a go. It was not an easy feet as although the water level was a lot less then the last time I was there, there was still only a small gap between the water level and the side of the cooling tower, it was our last stop on the trip so down I went on my knees in the mud and water to crawl inside. The moment when you realise you wont fit unless you get down on hands and knees in the sloppy mud, risking your camera bag falling into the muddy depth was quite devastating, but nothing was going to stop me getting underneath It was totally worth it and even the 6 hours I sat in a car/ ferry with wet feet underneath looking up was truly magical, like something from a different world. 

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