The Stone Notebooks
Stone, including Porphyry, has long been favored for public space because of its feeling of grandeur and beauty. Both traditional and contemporary designs benefit from natural stone. From the Not for Profit association, Pierres et Marbres de Wallonia is an exceptional 20 page design booklet of examples of the use of stone in public spaces. These are the urban parks and squares that are so special they are woven into the identity of the city. Old fashion social media.
THE STONES AND MARBLES OF WALLONIA
The PIERRES ET MARBRES DE WALLONIE association provides information about stone and its applications to the general public, architects, contractors and public authorities. The promotion platform for natural Belgian stone recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The association’s target public remains architects, businesses and public services, but also private individuals who have access to quality information on stone and its applications, both in old buildings and in more contemporary constructions.
The quarrying of ornamental rock remains one of Wallonia’s main economic activities. Frequently called upon for questions of identification or the selection of stones for restoration works or construction projects, it is often involved in teaching programs and training initiatives. The association also collaborates with official bodies, developing reference documents, standards, technical approvals etc. The association’s main role is the overall coordination of activities for the promotion of ornamental stone both in Belgium and abroad.
Those activities include the publication of works and brochures, the organization of events, exhibitions and conferences and participation in national and international trade fairs.
Wallonia is the predominantly French speaking southern region of Belgium. It is governed as the Walloon Region, which makes up 55% of the territory of Belgium but with only a third of its population.
Porphyry paving stones, shown on the pages of this design booklet are no longer produced in Belgium. For the North American marketplace, Porphyry paving stones in many sizes and colors are available from Milestone imports. www.milestoneimports.com
The quarrying of Porphyry in the Walloon area goes back to the 16th century. In 1844 M Zaman purchased the best quarries and in 1864 he grouped the seven quarries into one society, the SA Carrières Unis de Porphyre de Quenast. Today the quarry has become an immense operation, in area and depth one of the largest quarries in Europe with an annual capacity of 2 million metric tons but at the moment averaging about 1.6 million metric tons a year.
Originally, because of its durability, the Porphyry was used for the production of cobble stones for roads, one can still see them in many old roads in Belgium and France (the annual speed cycling event Paris-Roubaix is an epic event due to the many strips of cobble stones (Pavés or Kasseien) that are very hard physically on the athlete but also ruin many bikes)
Nowadays the main product is gravel for projects where hardness, durability and resistance of the gravel is of great importance.
Porphyry from the area has been used for instance in the huge Delta Works in Holland, in the “Chunnel” (the tunnel under the channel linking France to the United Kingdom) and for the high-speed TGV tracks (they exclusively use Porphyry)
Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings. The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world. These materials are available from Milestone Imports. – www.milestoneimports.com