Two people were injured slightly when part of the ceiling of the Palais de Justice in Brussels collapsed yesterday. The section involved houses the Cassation Court, one of the highest courts of appeal in the land and therefore seeing little traffic. However the damage brings to a head a debate about the disastrous state of the country’s highest court.
In the years during which the domed structure of the building, designed by architect Joseph Poelaert, has been clothed in scaffolding, the very subject has become one of comedy, just as the insult adopted by the Marolliens who live in the shadow of the building – scheven archicekt – has become part of local folklore.
At the time of its construction, the enormous building cast such a shadow over the low-lying and over-crowded Marollen district that sunlight became a rare quality.
Now, the collapse of part of the ceiling of part of the massive building has put pressure on the government to face up to the mounting pressure from the judges, lawyers and other officials who works there every day. The state of decay has long been a subject of concern, but like the scaffolding that enrobed the building, seems to have become a permanent feature.
“Are we really going to wait until 2040 to renovate,” tweeted Philippe Close, mayor of Brussels – whose responsibility the building is not, but whose concern is understandable.
Two people were slightly hurt in the collapse, but the material damage was reported to be more extensive. Alan Hope The Brussels Times