Renovation and revaluation of Emile Verhaeren’s funerary monument. The rising level of the water in the Scheldt estuary required us to raise not just the monument but the entire site with approximately 1.75 m.
Context. The grave of writer and poet Emile Verhaeren in Sint-Amands is one of Flanders’ most important historical funerary monuments. It was designed by Louis Van der Swaelmen and Henry Van De Velde. The Heritage Department instructed us to use the original design and vision as a point of departure for reconstructing the grave. This also included a partial restoration of the original landscape. At one point, the Scheldt, the grave site and the village were united, but the fragmented approach throughout the years was detrimental for the monumental appearance of the grave site.
Landscape. In order to reintegrate the monument into the surrounding nature, we needed to ‘clean up the landscape’: the adjacent dyke was redirected, a pond was dug on the inside of the dyke and a connection was made to the Massin garden. New local nut trees were planted and informal paths constructed. The funerary monument is restored to its former glory as a beacon in the Scheldt river bend in Sint-Amands.
Stramien collaborated closely with historian L. De Clercq and the Emile Verhaeren foundation. The technical aspects of the raising of the site were worked out and directed by professor D. Van Gemert of Triconsult NV.