The restoration of historical structures is highly specialized work and requires an expertise very few companies possess. But when the right team is assembled, the results are magnificent. Case in point is Pulhof Castle in Wijnegem, Belgium. With the involvement of VMZINC®US, the castle's original structure and appearance were preserved, while the castle itself was transformed into an accessible public place.
Pulholf Castle dates from the 19thcentury, with parts of the traditional brick and sandstone architecture dating as far back as the 16th century. When the Belgian Province of Antwerp inherited the castle in 2003, it had been unoccupied for several years and rain was leaking inside. Numerous original elements such as ornaments and panels had disappeared from the roof, and major restoration work was necessary. The biggest goal was to preserve the original appearance of the castle, which is intended to be used as a cultural facility.
In 2007, a master renovation plan was created, using influences from multiple styles and periods. The first phase involved the complete restoration of the roof, which had to be done quickly to repair the leaks, remove mold and asbestos, insulate and renovate the zinc roof, and finish with the exterior joinery at roof level. The second phase covered restoration of the facade and the porch.
With the goal of restoring and recreating the castle’s original appearance, using zinc was a perfect fit because the material is highly characteristic of the time period. Architect Kurt Loomans of Erfgoed and Visie and installer Dakwerken Costermans used the patented VMZ roll-cap system in ZINC PLUS to meet the challenge of restoring the appearance of the castle’s roof. ZINC PLUS offers a huge advantage in that it enables thinner roof flashing to be used and has no risk of incompatibility with the structure. The result is a perfectly insulated roof that did not necessitate any work on the original roof structure. VMZINC now offers a large range of sheets and coils to companies that produce and install flashing for slate roofs and walls.
In addition, numerous ornaments typical of these periods flank the French classical-style mansard roof of the Pulhof Castle. VMZINC® ornamental metal workers used zinc to create exact replicas of the buildings original ornaments, which included 14 bull’s eye windows, five dormer windows, a dome, a finial on the pointed roof of the turret and curb members. The metal workers provide a range of custom ornaments that are the only direct descendants of the 19th century workshops, which have been making ornaments in zinc and copper for more than 150 years. With the "Ateliers d'Arts Français" signature, VMZINC® Ornaments has collected old catalogs and architectural plans, which enable them to make identical reproductions of period pieces, and thus contributes to conserving prestigious historical buildings such as the Pulhof Castle.
“Pulhof Castle had a historic connection with VMZINC®. It was only logical therefore that, over 100 years later, we called on VMZINC® and its teams yet again to restore both the roof and the ornaments,” said Loomans. “The restoration of Pulhof Castle’s roof was a challenging job, but the result is remarkable and its magnificent legacy will continue for many generations to come.”
“The goal of the Pulhof Castle project was to ensure that the structure would be safe without losing any of its original appearance and charm,” added Daniel Nicely, managing director at VMZINC®-US. “By utilizing the highest quality zinc-based materials, the project was a major success and Pulhof Castle will remain a significant cultural destination for the region.”
To learn more about VMZINC-US ornamental solutions, visit http://www.vmzinc-us.com/our-solutions/vmzinc-ornaments.html.