At a time when architectural heritage is under threat around the world, the government of Brussels, Belgium has added Maison Stevens, located at Watermael-Boitsfort, to its historically protected listing and initiated the procedure for listing the Maison Vandevelde at Ganshoren. Both works are by architect Antoine Pompe, the bard of modernism.
A Brussels architect who lived an exceptionally long time, Antoine Pompe (1873-1980) began his career as a designer with great architects such as Georges Hobé and Victor Horta. In 1910, he completed a first major work for Belgian architecture: the clinic of Dr. Van Neck at Saint-Gilles. After working on construction and reconstruction projects connected to WWI - when he notably implemented the methods for avant-garde construction (in the City of La Roue) - he designed the plans for the Maison Vandevelde in 1922 located near the Basilica of Koekelberg in Ganshoren. In 1926, Pompe also designed those of Maison Stevens in Watermael-Boitsfort.
These houses occupy an important place in the architect's body of work. As much on the level of style as on the level of implementation and planning, these buildings testify to a great originality. In the work of Antoine Pompe, the Maisons Vandevelde and Stevens are marked by the interest of the architect in the English cottage style, which stays true to the materials and tradition: brick (paint at Ganshoren) and tile. For the Maison Stevens, he was also inspired by the Tudor style, which was rare for private architecture.
A little after its construction, the Maison Vandevelde was transformed by architects Adrien and Yvan Blomme, who perfectly integrated their work into Antoine Pompe's. The Maisons Stevens and Vandevelde constitute the biggest and most interesting private houses completed by Antoine Pompe. To present day, few buildings from this important architect have not been protected, with the exception of the Clinic of Dr. Van Neck (partially), his own house, the result of the conversion of an existing house in Ixelles, as well as an old surgery clinic in Brussels. A study ordered by the Royal Commission on Monuments and Sites at the Archives of Modern Architecture, allowed for the identification of the most noteworthy buildings from this architect; who was unknown to the general public and deserved to be valued through a historical preservation listing. Other files are also under analysis and will be soon be subject to the approval of the Brussels government.
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Original article, originally published in French, here.
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