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Victor Horta, architectural genius

Horta inside out: A year dedicated to this architectural genius

One of the greatest architects of his generation, Victor Horta, certainly left his mark on Brussels. From the Horta House to the Hôtel Tassel and the Horta-Lambeaux Pavilion, it was about time we paid tribute to this master of Art Nouveau by dedicating a whole year to his work and creative genius.

Victor Horta moved to Brussels in 1881 and went to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. His teacher, Alphonse Balat (the architect behind the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken), saw his potential and took him on as an assistant. Very quickly, he became fascinated by curves, light and steel. He soon joined the inner circle of the Masonic lodge that would launch his career.

The Autrique House was built in 1893, followed closely by the wonderful Hôtel Tassel. This period was the start of a long series of showpieces which dotted Brussels with buildings with innovative spaces and bright skylights.

Horta, one of the earliest instigators, heralded the modern movement of Art Nouveau architecture. The stylistic revolution represented by these works is characterised by their open plan, diffusion and transformation of light throughout the construction, the creation of a decor that brilliantly illustrates the curved lines of decoration embracing the structure of the building, the use of new materials (steel and glass), and the introduction of modern technical utilities.

Through the rational use of the metallic structures, often visible or subtly dissimulated, Victor Horta conceived flexible, light and airy living areas, directly adapted to the personality of their inhabitants. (Source : Unesco, Major townhouses of the architect Victor Horta (Brussels)).

Rich in this architectural heritage, Brussels owed it to Horta to honour his genius for a whole year. About twenty Brussels cultural institutions have got involved for you to discover or rediscover Victor Horta from every angle.Throughout the year, they are proposing a series of activities revolving around the architect: exhibitions, guided tours, educational activities, entertainment. A great way to commemorate the work of this extraordinary architect.

More information on the Horta Museum website : http://www.hortamuseum.be

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