The tower that never was...

The STAM museum in Ghent has launched 'Expo: models' - a brand new exhibition that concentrates on models and sheds fresh light on the monuments that embellish our country.

Despite computer technology, even today artists and architects often favour models when they are designing new projects. They are a way of introducing monuments to the general public and allow municipal authorities to take a considered decision on prospective projects. The oldest model on show in Ghent is 400 years old, but the latest 3D printer models are also on show.

The collection includes a design by Gustave Magnel, one of the pioneers of pre-stressed concrete. He conceived a tower for the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels. It was to stand 635 metres high with aerials that covered the entire country. Doubts about the feasibility led the planners to decide on the Atomium instead.

The exhibition also features a model of how the spire of the Ghent Saint Michael's Church should look according to 17th century designs by Lieven Cruyl. It envisaged a Gothic tower of 129 metres that would make it the highest spire in the city. Today the spire still stands unfinished.