D’Ieteren – Stapels building
Founded in 1805, D’Ieteren was one of the first companies to produce bodywork for motorised vehicles in the late 19th century, and later began selling various brands of cars in Belgium. In 1906, the company set up its headquarters at Rue du Mail/Maliestraat and started making vehicles itself. The business thrived, and its growth – further consolidated by the production of the Beetle – meant that new premises were needed. Wanting a cutting-edge design for the new build, Pierre D’Ieteren decided to approach architect René Stapels, who would go on to become a leading exponent of the functionalist style in Brussels. With the assistance of colleagues like Robert Bardinet, B. Lefèvre-Feragen, Lemaître and Jamar, he drew up plans for a building which looks as if it is split horizontally into two parts. The first part covers 140 metres and has four storeys. It houses car parks, technical facilities, the workshop and exhibition halls. The second part, with its five floors, hosts the company’s head office behind its long curtain-wall façades. The complex, which very much reflected the tastes of the period, was erected between 1962 and 1967 and dominated the surrounding buildings rather than being intended in any way to blend in with them. Today it remains one of the neighbourhood’s most iconic landmarks and is home to the D’Ieteren Gallery. Opened on 16 March 2005 in the presence of King Albert II, the gallery now has a surface area of 2,300 m² and features close to 100 vehicles, including horse-drawn carriages and cars whose bodywork was produced by D’Ieteren, as well as vehicles tracing the history of the brands sold by the company over the years: Studebaker, Auburn, Packard, Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Yamaha, MBK and Piatti. The various trades practised by the company under the leadership of seven generations of the D’Ieteren family provide the common thread running through the tours organised here. Activities such as wheelwrighting, the construction of bodywork for horse-drawn carriages and later cars, distribution, assembly, car rental and the replacement and repair of automotive glazing – all combine to paint a vivid portrait of the company and its history.
Guided tours: Sat. & Sun. at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 (in French); 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:30 and 17:30 (in Dutch). In cooperation with Arkadia and Korei Guided Tours.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Rue du Mail/Maliestraat 50, Ixelles/Elsene
By reservation only