Sanitarium Joseph Lemaire
Located in Tombeek, Brabant Belgium
Photo © 2006 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Sanitarium Joseph Lemaire History
In 1937, an insurance company called "Prévoyance Sociale" issued a proposal to build a sanitarium in Tombeek, near Overijse. The architect, Maxime Brunfaut, laid out a large Art Deco structure and several outbuildings that was to treat 150 male tuberculosis patients. Only 13 months after construction began (a record building time), the hospital opened on September 30th, 1937 as Sanitarium Joseph Lemaire; the name was a tribute to the director of the insurance company.
The building featured terraces on the ground floor of the patient's wing, allowing them to utilize fresh air and enjoy the large gardens behind the hospital. The stairwells were designed to prevent accidental contact with infected patients and visitors, and strict hygiene rules were laid out and followed to prevent the spread of infection.
During World War II the building was used by the Red Cross, and its capacity rose to a total of 235 residents. After the war, the building was converted to house the chronically ill and disabled for some time, then it was used as a neurology center, and finally a geriatric hospital / nursing home. In 1987 the facility was closed partly due to hospital reorganizations in Belgium, and has been abandoned since.