From the World Heritage inscription for the Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta:
The Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta – Hotel Tassel (1893), Hotel Solvay (1894), Hotel van Eetvelde (1895) and the House and Workshop of Victor Horta – located in Brussels, are outstanding examples of Art Nouveau. These four houses, that bear testimony to the immense talent of this Belgian architect, achieve a remarkable sense of unity with meticulous attention to the smallest detail of the building, from the door handle or bell to the least piece of furniture.
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.
The principle of a double house connected by a glass-covered circulation area is adopted for the Hotel Tassel and the Hotel van Eetvelde. This area, that generally contains a winter garden, is enchantingly represented at the Hotel Solvay, the most ambitious and spectacular work of Horta in the Art Nouveau period. The staircase of its house-workshop is decorated and enjoys this type of particularly elegant arrangement. The interior decors benefitted from surprising inventiveness, with the motifs flowing smoothly from the mosaic floor to the painted walls, including the wrought iron work and the custom furniture.
I have no idea why this is a world heritage site. This is in the running for the lamest world heritage site I have ever visited. There didn’t seem to be anything special about the houses in question. The only thing I could think of was “why isn’t there a world heritage site for Frank Lloyd Wright?” The house in the photograph is Hotel Tassel.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Belgium.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.