At the end of the 19th century, in Brussels, an industrial and enterprising middle class and leading figures from the Workers’ Party shared an enthusiasm for a new style: Art Nouveau or the Modern Style. The townhouse built by Victor Horta in 1893 for the engineer Tassel is regarded as its first architectural manifestation. With the fluidity of its interior spaces and constructive audacity in the use of metal and glass, this new style illustrated the spirit inherent both in winning new markets and rights for workers.
The heir to Eclecticism that had developed the art and science of architectural knots, Art Nouveau was expressed in sinuous lines imitating plants or the geometric lines inspired by Japanese art or the Viennese seccession. Abundantly illustrated and accompanied by pedestrian maps, this guide places architecture in the cultural, political and social context of Brussels and Belgium at the turn of the century. It allows anyone interested in architecture to discover the rare facades, accessible interiors, sgraffiti, wrought iron, stained-glass windows and other decorative motifs that make Brussels, alongside Barcelona, Vienna, Nancy, Riga and Glasgow, one of Europe’s Art Nouveau capitals.
Maurice culot, urban architect, graduated from La Cambre, president of the « Archives d’Architecture Moderne » and the « Fondation pour l’Architecture », Brussels. He supervised the departement of History and Archives of the French Institute of Architecture in Paris from 1980 to 2005. He chairs since 1980 the Philippe Rothier triennial prize of architecture and has founded in paris, in 2002, the architectural agencies Styles Architects and Arcas Paris.
Anne-Marie Pirlot, graduated of History of Arts and Archeology (Université Libre de Bruxelles), director of the « Fondation pour l’Architecture » in Brussels where she regularly curates exhibitions. She is the author of several books and articles on Brussels architecture of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.