A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels
Belgium

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Are you a fan of architecture? If you are, then you have to add Brussels to your bucket list. Brussels is well-known for its Art Nouveau architecture, and some say, it is 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.

So, what is classic Art Nouveau style you might ask? Well, it 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, and were often inspired by nature. At the time, it was incredibly expensive and therefore usually reserved for the rich bourgeoise.

An Architectural Walking Tour in Brussels
Fluid iron details
An Architectural Walking Tour in Brussels
Glass and nature details
A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels
Brick detail

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:

  1. Louise to Ixelles to St. Gilles neighbourhood
  2. The Cinquantenaire Park to The Squares neighbourhood
  3. Avenue Louis Bertrand in the Schaerbeek neigbourhood

Louise to Ixelles to St. Gilles Neigbourhood

Tour starts here

An Architectural Walking Tour in Brussels

Hotel Solvay

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

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Hotel Tassel

Designed in 1893 by Victor Horta. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Address: Rue Paul Emilie Janson, 6

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Octave van Rysselberghe House

Designed by architect Octave van Rysselberghe in 1912 for his personal residence. Address: Rue de Livourne, 83 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Ciamerlani House

Designed by architect Paul Hankar in 1897 for Albert Ciamberlani. Address: Rue Defacqz, 48

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Hanker House

Designed by architect Paul Hanker in 1893 for his own personal residence. Address: Rue Faider, 71

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Unnamed townhouse was designed in 1900 by Albert Roosenboom. Address: Rue Faider, 83

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Unnamed townhouse was designed in 1905 by Benjamin de Lestre-De. Address: Rue Africaine, 92

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Horta House

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)

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels
Horta House Interior (Photo credit: Brussels Museum)
A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels
Horta House Interior (Photo credit: Brussels Museum)

Tour ends here

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

The Cinquantenaire Park to The Squares Neigbourhood

Tour starts here

A Art Nouveau Tour in Brussels

Cauchie House

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

A Art Nouveau Tour in Brussels

Saint-Cyr House

Designed by Gustave Strauven who was mentored by Victor Horta. Its standout feature is the colourful wrought iron embellishments. Address: Square Ambiorix, 11

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Villa Germaine House

Designed by Gustave Strauven in 1897. Address: Avenue Palmerston, 24

A Art Nouveau Tour in Brussels

Hotel van Eetvelde

Designed by Victor Horta. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Address: Avenue Palmerston, 4

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Gutenberg Square

Many unknown and unnamed art nouveau homes in and around this area that are definitely worth exploring.

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Marie-Louise Square

Many unknown and unnamed art nouveau homes in and around this area are definitely worth exploring.

Tour ends here

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Avenue Louis Bertrand (Schaerbeek) Neighbourhood

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

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

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

Autrique House

This was the first house designed by Victor Horta in 1893. Address: Chaussée de Haecht, 266 (Photo credit: Brussels Museum)

Tour ends here

A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels

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. Click here, to get more information.  If you love architecture, be sure to add Brussels to your bucket list!   

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A Tour of Art Nouveau Architecture in Brussels
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18 Comments

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I would have loved to see the inside, as the exteriors were so unique and beautifully designed.

  • Obligatory Traveler

    I’m a huge architecture fan. This looks like an experience I would love, especially since I don’t know as much about Art Nouveau as other architecture styles. Hopefully I’ll get to Brussels one day. #WeekendWanderlust

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks for your comments. Good to hear you are a fan, definitely add it to your list. Brussels is such a great city to visit. There is so much to offer as a holiday, beyond the chocolate, waffles, frites and beer! The city is full of interesting architecture. Hope you get there one day.

  • Rhonda Albom

    This architectural style is fascinating and the walk outlines with typical buildings in photos are very useful. I’ve never really looked for this architectural style because I’ve never known I was in a location with a significant number of these structures.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Rhonda for dropping by and commenting. I am glad to hear that the tours might be helpful to you to learn a bit more about this architectural style.

  • Kelly

    Wow! Whenever I travel I always seek out the architecture. Can you imagine the time it would take to build these buildings?! I’ve pinned this and will definitely do all of these walking tours if I visit Bristol.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Kelly for your comment. Yes it would seem with all those details that it would take a long time to build, but quite the contrary. The Art Nouveau period was only from 1890 to 1910. In that short period of time the architects designed and had them built. There were close to 1,000 buildings built in Brussels.

  • Eric Gamble

    This is too cool, It is like Gaudi opened up his school of cool and slightly bizarre architecture in Brussels Belgium and then let his students run wild on the streets. I love some of the murals but those balconies and edifaces on the houses in the Cinquantenaire Park to The Squares Neighborhood are my absolute favorite! I think I like the St. Cyr best.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks Eric for your comment. Actually it was Gaudi who was inspired by the Art Nouveau founders, Victor Horta and Paul Hankar. He just happen to take it to his own unique level.
      That area was my favourite too, and our rented apartment was right on the edge of Marie Louis Square. We were fortunate to be surrounded by so much amazing architecture for an entire week!

  • Danik

    I used to live and work in Bruxelles and during my lunch (as I was only there for a few months) I would take a wander around the city when I can and I remember some of these buildings. It does give the city some character and brightens up the place.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Danik. How fortunate are you to have resided in Brussels for a short period of time. I thought the wonderful blend of Art Nouveau and Art Deco makes for wonderful neighbourhoods. I love how impressive their streets are. What a perfect way to spend a lunch hour!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Lisa for stopping by and commenting. Glad to hear you love this style of architecture as much as I do. It was wonderful to see so many examples of it throughout the city. There are a couple more neighbourhoods that have this as well, but we only went to these three, and actually our rented apartment for the week was in the Squares, so it was lovely to be amongst them all week.

  • Sage Scott

    What amazing architecture! I love being able to take this tour with you via your gorgeous photos and have an actual map to explore these places myself the next time I’m in Brussels.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Sage for taking the tour! 😊 I do hope maybe one day you might see it in person. My amateur photos definitely do not do it justice!

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