Located in the Charleroi area lies an abandoned office building with a laboratory from one of the world’s biggest glass producers. From the outside, it looks like your standard office building; Except for one thing: glass, there is a ton of it.
Let’s start with a short background story. This building is/was owned by AGC Europe, one of the world’s biggest glass producers. AGC is located throughout Europe; The abandoned site in Charleroi is probably the result of a new building near the Charleroi airport. I don’t know the exact reason why this building was abandoned, but I’m assuming it is because of relocation purposes.
Anyway, let’s head inside! The entrance is open, like the door is actually open, anyone can walk in. The first impression is that the inside has had to endure a lot more than the outside. The stairs are damaged and most of the glass walls have either a hole in them, or aren’t there anymore.
Once you’re inside, you can head left or right. This office has multiple buildings, starting from the left you have the offices and library. The second building contains the ‘main’ laboratory, more on that later. The third building contains some smaller laboratories, but mostly logistics. Each building has 2 floors, and there is a huge basement. Let’s start with the first building.
So the first building contains the library, offices and multiple conference rooms. Unfortunately, due to the amount of vandalism, there isn’t really anything to see. One of the conference rooms on the second floor has a funky glass floor that is interesting to see, but that’s it.
Onto the interesting stuff! Building two is where the cool stuff happened. There is one large testing room of some kind that is sealed off by a thick wall with thick glass, you can get inside using the airlock that is in the testing room. I wonder what they were doing inside here, as it is completely sealed off.
There are a lot of machines down here, and something that looks like an incinerator. Wonder what they were doing here. On the second floor, above the testing room are all kind of smaller laboratories, this is where they tested the chemicals to create all kinds of glass. We found some documents that described the types of glass they were making: Anti-fingerprint Glass, Shower Glass, Glass for photobioreactors and ‘other possible applications’, so basically anything.
There were several things I noticed when walking around this building, one of the most surprising was that the ‘authorized personnel’ signs are still on the doors with pictures and names of the staff that were working on this site. The other thing I noticed is that on all floors that contain any kind of testing room or laboratory, there is an infirmary. Looks like safety is number one priority. Let’s continue to the third building. The second floor contains more laboratories, with countless chemistry benches.
Walking around, I stumbled across this odd looking machine. It looks like some kind of reactor thingy. After doing some research, it is a machine that tests how a material reacts to weather, especially (long) exposure to sunlight. I wonder why they left this piece of machinery behind. It is pretty interesting to walk around the building, there’s a lot of random documents and posters containing all kinds of information. There are some random testing tubes here and there. But let’s head to the basement for now.
I’m not sure if basement is the correct name for this, as it feels more like a bunker. There is a huge hallway with a lot of rooms. The basement goes under all three buildings. The most right part is used as logistics wing, this is where the deliveries come in and go out. In the middle are file rooms with old photo tape that contains documents, the GDPR wasn’t a thing back then, so they left all of this stuff behind. I also found some medical records, and records that are used to report accidents during transport. The left part is used for more testing purposes, I found a hydraulic press, more testing rooms and some kind of weird elevator thing.
For some reason, there is a lot of police tape spread across the basement, wonder what happened here. Taking the stairs back to the main lobby, I found a second set of stairs that led to the server room, interesting! The server racks are still there, and some contain a few network switches from the primal age.
That wraps up the adventure for now, there are a lot of interesting things going on here; Definitely worth the trip! If you’re planning to visit this place, bring some flashlights, and batteries for your flashlight. Do not underestimate the basement. And remember to only leave footprints, and take nothing but pictures.