In 1893, the Laeken/Laken authorities decided to build a new town hall, around which a brand new neighbourhood was to be developed. A competition organised for the purpose was won by the architect Paul Bonduelle, in partnership with Charly Gilson. The duo had previously worked on a number of other projects in Brussels. Construction started in 1907 and continued until 1912. A graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the architect conceived a red brick and white stone building with classical lines and a front-facing tower that calls to mind the belfries of Northern France, particularly those in Lille and Calais. The imposing façade overlooking the Place Bockstael/Emile Bockstaelplein was specifically designed with the square in mind. It has two relatively long wings set at right angles and connected to each other at two points, forming two interior courtyards. A series of sculptures depicting the municipal arts and virtues adorn both the interior and exterior of the building, which was converted to other uses when the administrative importance of Laeken/Laken declined. Nowadays, the building is home to the Brussels-North Cultural Centre, known as the Maison de la Création (the “House of Creation”). The centre is a place for sharing, training, creating and disseminating knowledge. It is open to all, so that visitors can enjoy discovering, developing their talents, learning and creating collectively. (Listed 13/04/1995).
Place Émile Bockstael/Emile Bockstaelplein