The architect’s house, the home the architect builds for himself, is a tool more powerful than one would imagine at first. As being the client, as well as the designer, the architect has hardly any constraints during the design and construction process, besides his own wishes. He can use his own house for instance as a unique opportunity for a technological or architectural experiment and cultivate his sense of “entrepreneurial daring” to the fullest. The house can also become a manifest, a pilot project, a masterpiece or turning point in the architect his career. Thereby it represents the best possible business card within the profession.
Did you know that there are more than 350 architects' houses in the Brussels-Capital Region, built between 1830 and 1970? Theses houses, all homes architects have designed for themselves and their families, are often considered unique opportunities to elaborate a technological, constructive, aesthetic or architectural experiment, because as both client and designer the architect can exceed the limitations of designing for a regular client. Architects' houses can therefore occupy a pivotal position within the architectural oeuvre, and can thus bear special significance and value, even still today. As a result, these houses have become the subject of numerous publications and are often considered a category of their own in various heritage inventories.
Up till now, architects' houses are mainly presented through the lens of individual case studies, resulting in the fact that very little is known on the overarching, inherent characteristics of architects’ houses as a building type, nor has their position within the field of architectural history been explored. architectshousesbrussels.be fills this lacuna through the presentation of the results of the research project "Architects' houses in Brussels. Strategies for valorisation" and especially informs on the significance of architects' houses as a dinstict buidling type. It presents an unprecedented typological framework in which the intrinsic values of individual architects houses can be assessed. Therefore, we also dissemminate various tools to support all stakeholders involved in the valorisation of architects' houses in the recognition and safeguarding of the significance and type-specific heritage values. Both architects during a renovation or restoration project as public administrations throughout listing procedures, but also heritage organisations when reaching out to the public at large, researchers and even owners, can use and benefit from the information and tools available on this website.
Guided interior tour Goedele Desmet & Ivo Vanhamme (BOB 361, Anderlecht).
In collaboration with Korei, a series of visitis to architects' houses is planned for 2021. The first one to kick off this series is the co-housing project by Goedele Desmet and Ivo Vanhamme in Anderlecht.
Virtual walking tour along architect's houses in the Brussels Capital Region. Dag van de Wetenschap, online
During this virtual walk, you are guided along fifteen personal residences built by various known and unknown architects in the Brussels Capital Region.
Publication "Business cards in stone, timber and concrete" in Bulletin KNOB. June 2020
In the article we assess the significance of the architect’s house as a specific building type and reflect on the characteristics that distinguish this project from other buildings. Based on these characteristics, three architects' houses were studied in depth.
Creation of a ten-part documentary series on architects' houses for Bruzz TV.
In collaboration with Marjon Udo, ten portraits on architects' houses were filmed. In the documentaries, the owners of the houses, whether it being the initial architect, the architect his/her heir or just an architecture fanatic, elaborate on their expierence of inhabiting the house.
Architects' houses in Brussels: 1830-1970
Through the register it can be verified whether a specific house was initially built for the personal use of the architect, while more details on individual architects' houses can be obtained. The register includes 365 architects' houses built between 1830 and 1970 and can be consulted both through a searchable list and by means of a map. For each house included in the register a condensed fiche is available with further information on the respective house and architect. The map is furthermore an interesting tool to compose (or enrich) architectural walking and cycling tours.
Publications, guided visits, documentaries, etc.
In addition to sharing knowledge and supporting various stakeholders, we are also actively engaged in the valorisation of this building type and keep an eye out for events and publications featuring architects' houses. Are you thus an architecture enthousiast or do you want to further discover architects' houses at first hand? Have a look at the "explore" page where you find all about guided visits, publications, documentaries and other upcoming events.
Research project: Architects' houses in Brussels. Strategies for valorization
PhD research project / 2017-2020
This Doctiris-Innoviris research project defined the characteristics and qualities of architects’ houses in Brussels as a speific building type and set out to develop strategies for qualitative renovation and restoration projects, as well as various paths for the valorisation of this heritage. In addition, best practices and recommendations are put forward for experts, owners and other stakeholders.
For architects, researchers, policy makers, heritage organisations, etc.
As we noticed that the significance of architects’ houses as a building type, and the heritage values derived therefrom, are often overlooked in publications, value assessments, (preliminary) renovation and restoration studies, motivations for listings or guided architectural (interior) tours including architects' houses, we developed a hands-on toolkit to recognize the type-specific heritage values and to support all stakeholders involved in the interpretation and preservation or highlighting of these values. As the conservation of architectural heritage is achieved by various stakeholders together, ranging from researchers to practitioners, owners, heritage organisations and policy makers, the toolkit is available in various formats, tailored to the individual workflow and specific needs of each stakeholder.