Are you a fan of architecture, in particular Art Nouveau? Then you have to go to Brussels. Brussels is well-known for this type of architecture, and some say, it’s where it all began. It was where architects Victor Horta and Paul Hankar, who were credited with designing the first two Art Nouveau buildings in the world, lived and worked. Ever since then, more than 1,000 buildings, from private homes to public spaces, were built in the Art Nouveau style in Brussels during 1890 and 1910, but only about half of them remain today.
With so many examples spread throughout the city, why not create your own architectural walking tour where you can leisurely stroll and take in these impressive historical gems? I have created three neighbourhood tours for you:
- Louise to Ixelles to St. Gilles neighbourhood
- The Cinquantenaire Park to The Squares neighbourhood
- Avenue Louis Bertrand in the Schaerbeek neighbourhood
What is Art Nouveau?
Classic Art Nouveau style is usually made of materials associated with the turn of the century, such as iron, glass and exposed brick. Art Nouveau architects and artists incorporated fluid lines and geometric shapes into their designs. They were often inspired by nature. At the time, it was incredibly expensive and therefore usually reserved for the rich bourgeoise.
Louise to Ixelles to St. Gilles Neighbourhood
Designed in 1900 by Victor Horta. He designed every detail from furniture to lighting to tableware. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public for tours. Address: Avenue Louise, 224
Designed in 1893 by Victor Horta. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Address: Rue Paul Emilie Janson, 6
Octave van Rysselberghe House
Designed by architect Octave van Rysselberghe in 1912 for his personal residence. Address: Rue de Livourne, 83 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Designed by architect Paul Hankar in 1897 for Albert Ciamberlani. Address: Rue Defacqz, 48
Designed by architect Paul Hanker in 1893 for his own personal residence. Address: Rue Faider, 71
Unnamed townhouse was designed in 1900 by Albert Roosenboom. Address: Rue Faider, 83
Unnamed townhouse was designed in 1905 by Benjamin de Lestre-De. Address: Rue Africaine, 92
Now referred to as the Horta Museum was designed by Victor Horta in 1901. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and open to the public for tours. Address: Rue Americaine, 25 (Photo credit: Brussels Museum)
The Cinquantenaire Park to The Squares Neighbourhood
Designed by Paul Cauchie in 1905 for his personal residence. What makes this house unique is the golden art mural on its façade with the inscription 'Par nous, pour nous' or 'By us, for us.' Address: Rue des Francs, 5
Designed by Gustave Strauven who was mentored by Victor Horta. Its standout feature is the colourful wrought iron embellishments. Address: Square Ambiorix, 11
Villa Germaine House
Designed by Gustave Strauven in 1897. Address: Avenue Palmerston, 24
Hotel van Eetvelde
Designed by Victor Horta. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Address: Avenue Palmerston, 4
Many unknown and unnamed art nouveau homes in and around this area that are definitely worth exploring.
Many unknown and unnamed art nouveau homes in and around this area are definitely worth exploring.
Avenue Louis Bertrand (Schaerbeek) Neighbourhood
Avenue Louis Bertrand
Many unknown and unnamed art nouveau homes on this lovely tree lined street, perfect area to stroll taking in both sides of the street. Address: Avenue Louis Bertrand, 43
This was the first house designed by Victor Horta in 1893. Address: Chaussée de Haecht, 266 (Photo credit: Brussels Museum)
As a holidaymaker…
By 1910, Art Nouveau was out of style. It was first replaced by Art Deco and then later by Modernism. if you don’t want to do your own walking tour like I have done, check out the Brussels Art Nouveau and Art Deco (BANAD) festival where for three consecutive weekends in March select buildings ranging from smaller townhomes to large mansions to public buildings are open to the public for tours lead by professional guides. If you love architecture as much as I do, be sure to add Brussels to your travel list!