Walking Tour

Saving Art Nouveau

Séverin Malaud ©

This year marks the 130th anniversary of the Hôtel Tassel, Victor Horta's first masterpiece and a veritable manifesto of Art Nouveau. The year of its construction, 1893, was the start of a short-lived period for architecture and the decorative arts. Art Nouveau quickly became all the rage, adorning façades, decorating interiors and providing inspiration for countless objects.

This golden age was brought to a shuddering halt by the First World War. Art Nouveau then experienced a long period in the wilderness, with decades of destruction and neglect, until the demolition of the Maison du Peuple/Volkshuis in 1965 suddenly brought people to their senses. However, even during the darkest days of "Bruxellisation", there were some individuals fighting to save buildings that would likely have disappeared without their intervention. A number of associations, including ARAU, were also set up in response to the demolition of the historic city fabric. Does this mean that Art Nouveau heritage is now safe? In fact, much remains to be done, particularly in terms of small-scale heritage and building interiors.

This walking tour retraces the eventful history of Art Nouveau in Brussels, focusing on several telling examples such as the demise of Victor Horta's Hôtel Aubecq and the future of the Hôtel Solvay, now a museum, as well as current restoration projects.

In cooperation with ARAU.

Practical information

Sat. & Sun. at 10:00 and 14:00 (French) (duration: 2 hours)

Starting point: at the corner of Avenue Louise/Louizalaan and Boulevard de la Cambre/Terkamerenlaan – Brussels

Advance booking required. Up to 25 people per tour.