Architects' houses (and ateliers) in Brussels from the late 18 until the 20 century
Master thesis / 2015-2016
Based on the properties of these houses, architects' personal houses often have special significance and value, even still today. Henceforth, it is all the more surprising that architects’ houses in Brussels were hardly studied and valorized, with a few notable exceptions like Victor Horta’s first house in Sint-Gillis. Therefore, in 2016, I have drafted an exhaustive register on architects' houses in the context my master thesis, including 252 houses designed and occupied by architects in the Brussels Capital Region, in order to get a grip on this particular type of housing in Brussels. This register is the first in his kind, encompassing the whole territory of the capital region and spanning a large period of time (from the late 18th century until the 1970s). Furthermore, this extensive list was analyzed based on the characteristics of these houses and several cases were selected to be investigated in detail.
News - events
Upcoming / Virtual walking tour along architect's houses in the Brussels Capital Region. Dag van de Wetenschap, online
22 November 2020.
During this virtual walk, I will take you along fifteen personal residences built by various known and unknown architects in the Brussels Capital Region.
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Past highlights / Publication of the article "Business cards in stone, timber and concrete" in Bulletin KNOB.
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.
Completion 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.
Keynote lecture of the 3rd Brussels Biennale of Modern Architecture, CIVA
2 October 2018
Keynote lecture 'The architect's house: more than a home': Architects' houses in Brussels was presented within the broader framework established in the research, and several (inter-)nationale case studies were discussed.
Symposium: ‘Activism at Home: Architects’ own houses as sites of resistance’, University of Manchester
15-16 January 2018
During the symposium, the paper entitlted: "Shaping modernism in Brussels: Victor Bourgeois, Adrien Blomme & PaulAmaury Michel and their personal residences" was presented.
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.
Architects' houses in Brussels. Strategies for valorization
PhD research / 2017-2020
This project will continue on the research of the master thesis and will define the characteristics and qualities of architects’ houses in Brussels and develop strategies for qualitative renovation and restoration projects, as well as various paths for the valorization of this heritage. In addition, best practices, new restoration techniques and recommendations will be put forward for experts as well as for owners and other stakeholders.
Profile of the researcher
Ir. Arch. Linsy Raaffels (°1993), is a PhD researcher at the Architectural Engineering Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She obtained her degree as Master of Science in Architectural Engineering in 2016 and started in January 2017 on a research project 'Doctiris' supported by Innoviris on 'Architects’ houses in Brussels. Strategies for valorization' in collaboration with B. Van der Wee Architects and under the supervision of prof. dr. Inge Bertels (VUB) and prof. dr. Stephanie Van de Voorde (VUB). This project directly builds on het master thesis: Architects' houses (and ateliers) in Brussels from the late 18th until the 20th century'.
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