Architecture: in October, discover Brussels in style

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(c) Lovie Tey
Published at 29/09/2020
By Mylène


You walk, ride a bus or cycle through the city on a daily basis and think you know it like the back of your hand. But do you know of all the architectural surprises that the capital has to offer? How about, this time, you took a moment to look up at the facades that you pass every day or visit inside them to discover what is behind their doors? We'll help you to understand their history and decipher their style?

In October, architecture is the talk of the town and various events offer you the chance to but your urban explorer cap on and encounter the epochs (Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Neo-Classicism and architecture Contemporary architecture). Follow the guide!

The beauty of lines and curves: Art Nouveau and Art Deco

Bruxelles Art Nouveau - Hotel Hannon - Saint-Gilles © - Jean-Paul Remy

Postponed this year until the autumn, the 2020 edition of the BANAD festival offers an unprecedented week-long formula. It is an opportunity to visit new sites, such as the old "Etablissements Blum" with their sober lines, or discover the Hispanic aesthetics of the amazing Herrero House in the company of its owners! Those who prefer straight lines to curves should hurry to see the facade of Spittael House, with its incredible brick chimney. In addition to the visits, the programme also abounds with off-site activities, workshops for kids and conferences that highlight the richness of Brussels' architectural heritage. In short, you can look forward to a week of visits and discoveries of extremely rare places that are full of stories! 

When? 26/09 > 04/10: BANAD festival

Where? Several locations in Brussels

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Revisit the classics with ARTONOV 

IsabellaS Stretch, Stage ©DannyWillems

Want to discover Art Nouveau and Art Deco off the beaten track and with a modern twist? That's what the ARTONOV festival offers its visitors. For this 6th edition, dance, performances and concerts will be hosted in a handful of varied venues such as Saint Cyr House (an Art Nouveau gem), L’Hectolitre (an atypical site) or Solvay Library, with its eclectic beauty. This year, two gems of Brussels' industrial architecture, the COOP in Anderlecht and the See U in Ixelles are also hosting the festival: giving it a real contemporary twist! Whether it’s musical walks to the sound of a portable medieval organ; underground dance to the sound of EDM or jazz improvisation under the marble mosaics of the Solvay Library, this year’s

When? 04/10 > 11/10: ARTONOV festival

Where? Several locations in Brussels

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Archiweek: a spotlight on contemporary art

Contemporary architecture Brussels - @tsasacha

To perfect your architectural knowledge, there is also the week of 5 to 13 October. For 7 days, Archiweek puts the spotlight on contemporary architecture in Brussels. Visitors can browse through the most surprising projects of the moment and marvel at their daring lines. The curious will also get an intimate glimpse behind the scenes of contemporary creation, during visits to Brussels architectural agencies.

The militant architects' collective 'Traumnovelle'; the Humbble architecture laboratory and Katía Truijen - a theorist and media researcher - will be the curators of this promising edition and will engage in the debates at several conferences. In order to reinvent the city of the future in line with current events, Archiweek will take a closer look at urban life in times of a pandemic and how it can be improved. Finally, on 12 and 13 October, the "Sustainable Architecture" days will give the public the opportunity to visit sustainable projects or building sites in the Brussels-Capital Region.

When? 05/10 > 13/10: Archiweek

Where? Several locations in Brussels

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Neoclassic Revival

Neoclassical architecture Brussels - neo-classical architecture - Écuries royales de Bruxelles © - Jean-Paul Remy

Do you love antique columns, Greco-Roman pediments and porticoes? Neo-classical architecture remains less well known than its cousins Art Nouveau or Art Deco, but it is just as omnipresent in Brussels. The Brussels Biennale - Neoclassic (BBN) gives this remarkable architectural style well-deserved exposure over two weekends in October.

In addition to the Church of Saint James on Coudenberg, which is a flagship of the genre, the BBN takes you under the incredible glass roof of Ernest Salu's studio in Laeken and through the elegant maze of the Maison des Arts and its gardens. This year, too, enjoy architectural walks that take in the facades of the Brussels-Schaerbeek district. Or you could travel through the centuries (from Place Royale to Ixelles town square: a century of neoclassicism). These are all unique opportunities to (re)discover Brussels' architectural gems off the beaten track.

When? 10/10 > 18/10

Where? Several locations in Brussels

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Bringing modernity to life

For its fourth edition entitled 'Reliving Modern Isms', the highly specialised Brussels Biennale of Modern Architecture - BBMA has chosen to bring modernity to life. Every Saturday, it opens the doors of emblematic buildings dating from 1918-1972 (residential buildings, offices, churches, houses, etc.) designed by great names of Brussels architecture, such as Pierre Humblet, Albert Bontridder and Jean-Pierre Blondel. Curtain walls, cubist volumes, period interiors... Accompanied by a guide and their inhabitants, this series of visits will be rich in historical and personal anecdotes.

The studio flat of Simone Guillissen-Hoa, one of the first women architects in Belgium is one of our favourites. Preserved in its original state, it has retained its volumes and period charm (1965). It's a real gem!

A series of free screenings and debates will also help you understand the architectural challenges of tomorrow. In particular, they will try to answer the question of how to preserve the architectural heritage of the 20th century?

When? 13/10 > 31/10

Where? Several locations in Brussels

More information:
Architecture moderne Bruxelles - (c) Brussels Biennale of Modern Architecture – BBMA