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Memorial to King Albert - Expo Liege 1939

Memorial to King Albert at the Exhibition Expo Liege 1939
© Sergysels
Architect(s) : Joseph Moutschen

This monumental work stands at the extreme tip of the Monsin peninsula, commanding the entrance to the Albert Canal.

Of a very simple architecture, almost entirely designed horizontally, it admirably and rationally covers the site that was intended for it. At the very front, there is a lighthouse with slender lines, 40 metres high, topped by a lantern with an eclipse light. At the front, the noble figure of King Albert, the work of the talented sculptor Marcel Rau, is set against it. It is an essentially peaceful figure, showing the King standing bareheaded, without any artifice.

Following the monument is a series of elegant terraces ending at the large central lawn. This triangular-shaped lawn is bordered by concrete paving stones, which are in turn bordered by a series of benches and lampposts made of ashlar, which have been designed with great care. The end of the lawn is embellished with a magnificent pergola treated with a perfect sense of modern garden art.

Then comes the most imposing part of the memorial: the large esplanade with its supporting wall and large staircases.

The whole thing leaves an impression of majestic grandeur. The architectural composition is of the highest order, impeccably executed, and the smallest details are striking for their originality and the quality of the stereotomic study.

The long, gracefully curved retaining wall is enlivened in its central part by a schematic outline of the canal executed in intaglio. Engraved texts complete the plan. Each buttress is finished with a sculptural ensemble of real value. One, on the right, is 6 metres high and is the work of the sculptor Dupont. It shows a puddler treated very soberly in the round and a bas-relief sculpted in intaglio depicting the industrial city. The other, on the left, is by the sculptor Massart and is executed in the same manner. It shows a stevedore and an evocation of the port of Antwerp. The inscriptions were engraved by the sculptor Berckmans.

At the front of the esplanade, a series of steps in small granite is symmetrically interrupted by two identical architectural motifs: two fountains crowned by magnificent foremast and their tackle.

This splendid work, of perfect homogeneity despite its great extent, does credit to the architect who designed it.

© General Report - International Water Technology Exhibition - Liège 1939