Visits / Performances

Former Josaphat school complex

A. de Ville de Goyet ©

Seeing that Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek's original School No. 1 had fallen into a state of disrepair, alderman Auguste Reyers suggested that a new school be built. His proposal was approved and the project was put in the hands of Henri Jacobs, one of the few Art Nouveau architects to focus almost exclusively on public buildings. Work began around 1903 and the complex was officially opened in 1907. When building the new school, Jacobs had to find a way to deal with the 12-metre height difference between the two ends of the site, in Rue Josaphat/Josaphatstraat and Rue de la Ruche/Bijenkorfstraat. His finished design included 18 ordinary classrooms, three classrooms for upper primary school pupils, a physics laboratory, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a craft room, a fully-equipped medical office, a public library and a reading room – in all, 91 rooms for the use of the teaching staff and the school's 1,000 pupils, plus two playgrounds. Jacobs, who also designed the furniture, took special care over the complex's decor, skilfully combining a range of materials such as red brick, white enamelled brick, blue limestone, grey marble, cast iron and other ironwork as well as stained glass to create the vibrant colour effects that embellish the building's floors and walls. He also called on the talent of Privat Livemont, who produced multiple sgraffito panels to decorate this veritable palace of education. These elegant creations made for an attractive addition to the many allegorical paintings and sculptures already adorning the building. (Listed 02/04/1999)

Guided tours in cooperation with Arkadia and Korei Guided Tours.

Discover the crafts associated with Art Nouveau (sgraffito, stonework, stained glass, ironwork) through the work and life of Privat Livemont.

  • ACTIVITY 1:  Dream Façade
    The "Dream Façade" will allow you to reimagine Art Nouveau façades on large wooden structures shaped like two-metre-high houses. You'll be invited to draw architectural elements you observe in and around the school. Using Indian ink and ecoline on tracing paper, you'll be able to experiment with the glide of the brush as you try to achieve the flowing movements characteristic of the Art Nouveau look.
    Activity running throughout the day in the indoor yard. Without reservation.
  • ACTIVITY 2: Art Nouveau modern ball
    Wearing headphones, you can throw some shapes to music from the Art Nouveau period, using your body to create the typical movements found in this style of architecture. Silent disco headphones will be used to provide acoustic comfort for both those dancing and those wishing to explore the building in peace.
    20-minute session in the indoor yard.
    Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Without reservation.
  • ACTIVITY 3: Madame Rosa dusts off our heritage
    Madame Rosa dusts off our heritage: famed former housemaid Madame Rosa will take visitors on dramatised tours of various façades in the neighbourhood, bringing them to life with her quirky stories and anecdotes. There will also be a number of activities along the way, inviting you to take a closer look at the architectural details associated with the various Art Nouveau crafts (sensory exploration, observation games, etc.).
    Hours: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Without reservation.

Activities in cooperation with Patrimoine à Roulettes.

Practical information

Sat. & Sun. 10:00 to 18:00

Rue Josaphat/Josaphatstraat 229 – Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek

Reservation only for guided tours