plastics, synthetic materials, interiors, finishes, Belgium


This paper focusses on the presence of visible synthetic materials (plastics) and finishes from the 1960s in the interior of office buildings. Although the ongoing research on synthetic materials as art pieces is well developed, building components from the interior and exterior of Belgian patrimony have not yet been studied, and remain undervalued as integral components of heritage buildings. The research presented in this paper tackles this issue by examining two specialized Belgian journals, namely La Technique des Travaux and La Maison. A selection of case studies from these two journals was examined in-depth to assess general tendencies and obtain a thorough evaluation and validation of the visible plastic materials and finishes in the case studies: the floor, wall and ceiling finishes. The plastic elements of listed monuments have often been removed, and do not receive a similar level of protection to other materials. Plastic heritage is not valued and protected as a relevant part of recent historic architecture. This part of the built patrimony needs to be recognized with equal status and therefore conserved.

How to Cite

Serneels, N., Lemineur, P., & Jaenen, M. (2022). PLASTIC FINISHES IN 1960s BELGIAN OFFICE BUILDINGS. Docomomo Journal, (66), 33–39.




Author Biographies

Nick Serneels

Nick Serneels Architectural Engineer, Master in Herritage studies, Architect for Studio Roma, a firm specialized in heritage care. He performed research on the heritage value of synthetic materials in Belgian buildings to obtain the master degree in Heritage studies at the University of Antwerp.

Philippe Lemineur, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design sciences, Researchgroup ARCHES

Philippe Lemineur Architect, Master in Conservation of Historic Monuments and Sites, Partner of Origin Architecture & Engineering, a Brussels-based architects’ office specialised in heritage care. He is also principal tutor in the Heritage Studies programme and member of the ARCHES research group at the University of Antwerp. He is currently working on a doctoral dissertation examining the importance of a preliminary trajectory in relation to major adaptations in built heritage.

Marieke Jaenen

Marieke Jaenen Art Historian, Master in Conservation of Historic Monuments and Sites and Master Cultural Sciences, Art historian, cultural scientist and conservator who has developed an expertise in historical research concerning the built patrimony and their interiors. Her major research results were concluded in scientific articles. She was an assistant-lecturer in the Master Heritage studies at the Faculty of Design Sciences of the University of Antwerp for the period 2009-2018.


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