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The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde

Industrial zones located on the outskirts of big cities regularly feature cooling towers: tall, open-topped, cylindrical concrete towers used for cooling water or condensing steam from industrial processes.
These bold man-made structures are extremely monotonous in architecture. We are aware of their presence, yet we classify them as dull and not interesting. Ignoring them, erasing them from our view. The fact that these structures are situated in off-limit areas contributes to that perception.

Credit: Reginald Van de Velde


But what if we got to see the interior of such towers? Would we still find them uninteresting?

Belgian photographer Reginald Van de Velde explored the inner workings and mechanisms of cooling towers across Europe. Capturing active ones, decommissioned ones, cooling towers on maintenance and cooling towers slated for demolition.

“It’s incredible to see how many plants are closing down these days”, Reginald says. Who’s to blame? The European Union, who endorses very strict rules to achieve climate change objectives, resulting in the closure of many coal-fired power plants throughout Europe.

Photography wise, the closure of these plants is pure bliss for Reginald. For the first time we can enter & explore them, document and admire them. The interior of cooling towers yield astonishing vistas, so grand and impressive. Reginald approaches these objects as landscapes. Searching for patterns, sense of scale, repetition, and disruption, rendering landscapes within.

“One thing that fascinates me extremely is the fact that not a single cooling tower is the same”, Reginald says. “Each and every one of them has a unique interior design and build! They all look the same from the exterior, but with each visit to a new cooling tower I’m always surprised by a different interior, time and time again.”

To see more of Reginald’s work, visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
1


Like pawns strategically positioned on a chessboard, these 5 giant cooling towers sprawl the landscape of an industrial wasteland. The sole remnants of a demolished powerplant in the UK.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
2


The impressive interior view of a giant cooling tower scheduled for maintenance, France.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
3


Unreal scenery resembling the set of a sci-fi movie. This is the view inside a defunct cooling tower in Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
4


Slated for demolition, this cooling tower in Luxemburg features a clockwork-like design & layout.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
5


At a height of 15 meters these 4 catwalks connect a centered water and steam outlet that looks like a shrine. Germany.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
6


One of a kind, a submerged cooling tower is awaiting maintenance in France.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
7


It could have been a set from the latest Star Wars movie, but this is as real as it can get: looking up inside the belly of a cooling tower. Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
8


A booth sits otherworldly still amidst fern in this decommissioned cooling tower in Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
9


A water and steam outlet is positioned in the center of a vast array of thousands and thousands of cooling lamella, a technique used to cool down water particles. Italy
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
10


Vegetation is slowly taking over the bottom area of this cooling tower slated for demolition, Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
11


Covered in moss and algae these beams support the inner structure of a defunct cooling tower, UK.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
12


Winter Wonderland: snow particles piling up inside a defunct cooling tower in Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
13


A decommissioned tower featuring a circular cooling system is seen in Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
14


Four engines sit on top of the central in & outlet of this cooling tower on standby, France.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
15


Workers left behind a ladder in this cooling tower scheduled for maintenance, France.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
16


Another type of circular cooling system is seen in this abandoned cooling tower in Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
17


Passage to nowhere: a catwalk disappears into the warm moist air that rises from this active cooling tower, Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
18


Inside the belly of an active cooling tower: billions of water drops fall down while releasing heat to the environment. Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
19


A structure that resembles the look & feel of a cooling tower: this is the view inside a gasometer, an industrial recipient used for the storage of natural gas. Belgium.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

The Fascinating Architecture of Cooling Towers by Reginald Van de Velde
20


The spectacular view inside a decommissioned gasometer in Germany, looking upwards. The air vents at the top dome create natural ambient light. Gasometers can reach heights of 150 meters.
Credit: Reginald Van de Velde

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