10 must-visit Art Nouveau houses and mansions in Brussels

10 must-visit Art Nouveau houses and mansions in Brussels

At the end of the 19th century, Victor Horta broke with the dominant, traditional architectural styles in Brussels, giving birth to the iconic Art Nouveau genre. Along the streets of our capital, numerous houses and mansions bear witness to the emergence and blossoming of this unprecedented style. Horta, Hankar, Van de Velde and other great names in Brussels architecture drew their inspiration from the organic forms of nature, sometimes with a touch of Japanese inspiration. The capital’s appearance was transformed and its facades were brought to life in magnificent fashion. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, we’ve put together a top 10 of Brussels’ unmissable Art Nouveau houses and mansions!

Top tip! The brand-new Art Nouveau Pass lets you discover Brussels’ Art Nouveau gems at an unbeatable price. Choose 3 sites from a list of 7 emblematic constructions, like Cauchie House, the Horta Museum, Autrique House and Solvay House. The pass is valid 6 months, to the great delight of all architecture fans!

  • 1. The Horta Museum

  • The Horta Museum is housed in two connected buildings: The architect’s house and his workshop. They are the perfect examples of the peak of Art Nouveau. Both buildings were bought by the commune of Saint-Gilles in the 60s and turned into a museum which opened in 1969.

    Visit: the Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 14:00-17:30. Last admission at 17:00.

  • 2. Tassel House

  • Tassel House was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. With its audacious bow-window and remarkable light wells, this building left a lasting mark on the history of architecture.

    Visit: the venue can be visited by request, but please enquire in advance. Subject to the owner’s availability.

    www.https://www.explore.brussels/en/guided-tours/for-individuals/art-nouveau-mansions/event/63-an-ad-mansions/3039-tassel-house-2020en

  • 3. Autrique House

  • Autrique House, designed by Victor Horta in 1893, is the first large town house that the great architect built, almost at the same time as he designed the Hôtel Tassel. Here too the structural and decorative innovations are characteristic of Art Nouveau.

    Visit: Booking required. From Wednesday to Sunday, from 12:00 to 18:00 - last admission at 17:30.

  • 4. Cauchie House

  • Built in 1905, Cauchie House that dates back to 1905, was named after its original owner Paul Cauchie. Aside from its superbe round window, the building's facade is magnified by the presence of several large sgraffiti, which make the building stand out and are evidence of Cauchie’s decorative talent.

    Visit: Booking required. Every first weekend of each month, from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30. Last admission at 16:30.

  • 5. Solvay House

  • Solvay House is regarded as one of Victor Horta’s finest works, which unsurprisingly lead it to be added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2003. It was commissioned by industrialist Ernest Solvay, who gave Horta an illimited budget to complete the masterpiece. Standing on the chic avenue Louise, it is a perfect example of how the well-to-do families of 19th century bourgeoisie lived.

    Visit: booking required. https://hotelsolvay.be/

  • 6. The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)

  • The Old England building – previously a shop, but now owned by the government – is a remarkable example of Art Nouveau, with its black metal structure. Although the MIM is often considered to be only this dark metal structure, the complete construction is made up of three buildings in which no less than 1,200 musical instruments are on display, with more than 8,000 in total being stored.

    Visit: Tuesday - Friday: 9:30 - 17:00. Saturdays, Sundays and on holidays: 10:00 - 17:00.

  • 7. The Max Hallet House

  • Buit in 1903 by Victir Horta, this mansion on the prestigious avenue Louise is characterised by its sober facade. This simplicity isn’t just down to the logical evolution of Art Nouveau architecture around 1900, it’s also because of the building’s original purpose, which was to be both the home and office of lawyer Max Hallet.

    Visit: the venue can be visited by request, but please enquire in advance. Subject to the owner’s availability. https://www.explore.brussels/en/guided-tours/for-individuals/all-themes/event/63-an-ad-mansions/3023-max-hallet-house-2020en

  • 8. Foundation Frison Horta

  • Foundation Frison Horta sits in the middle of Rue Lebeau and was built by Victor Horta in 1894 for Georges Frison, a renowned lawyer. It is a house that showcases nature and light down to the smallest detail. There are murals, frescoes and odes to flora and fauna on every floor. Foundation Frison Horta is a cultural institution and centre for art. It acts as a cultural bridge between east and west that fosters greater understanding and appreciation of the rich cultural traditions of India in Europe.

    Guided tours (30 mins) by appointment only

  • 9. The Belgian Comic Strip Center (CBBD)

  • The Belgian Comic Strip Center, a former textiles warehouse, was designed by Victor Horta for textile merchant Charles Waucquez. Bought by the government in the80s to save it from being demolished, it no houses a centre dedicated to Belgian comic strips.

    Visit: Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00. Last admission at 17:00.

  • 10. Van Eetvelde House

  • According to Victor Horta himself, Van Eetvelde House, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, was the most daring of his entire oeuvre. The man who commissioned it, politician Edmond van Eetvelde was someone who believed in modernity and architectural innovation. He gave Horta free reign to let his artistic inspiration run wild when he commissioned him to design a home for his family.

    Visit: the venue can be visited by request, but please enquire in advance. Subject to the owner’s availability. www.explore.brussels