Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) Rectorate Building (fully booked)
The VUB’s Rectorate Building was constructed between 1971 and 1978 to plans by Antwerp architect Renaat Braem. It is one of a series of buildings commissioned by the academic authorities to occupy the former Plaine des Manœuvres/Oefenplein, which was designated in the late 1960s to host buildings belonging to the two new universities (Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)) that were created when the former Free University of Brussels split along linguistic lines into Dutch- and French-speaking institutions. Of this space, the VUB was assigned a 20-hectare site bordering Boulevard Général Jacques/Generaal Jacqueslaan. The Rectorate Building takes the form of an oblong ellipse, the shape which, according to the architect, “harmonises best with the work of the forces of nature”. Its office spaces are laid out around the edges of the structure, surrounding a central core. A canopy in a style evoking the architect and designer Le Corbusier curves upwards from the side of the building. Its front side etched with symbols, it complements the structure’s shape, which itself calls to mind the most fundamental scientific truth. The building may be considered a total work of art, acting, in this specific case, as an allegory for the liberation of the mind. Its walls are bedecked with huge, boldly coloured murals (measuring almost 500 metres in length), which were painted by the architect himself from 1976 to 1984. Ascending in a spiral from the ground floor to the fifth floor, the murals are arranged by theme. Starting at the bottom of the building and moving upwards, they feature symbolic depictions of energy (fire and water), the origin of life, the primitive Earth, humanity, and revolution, culminating in an illustration of the ultimate goal, human liberation. (Listed since 27 September 2007)
Guided tours on Sat. 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 and Sun. at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 15:30, 16:30 (French) and Sat. at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30 and 16:30, Sun. at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 (Dutch). In cooperation with Korei Guided Tours.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Boulevard de la Plaine/Pleinlaan 2, Ixelles/Elsene
Guided tours only – advance booking required