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The house that Victor Horta designed for the industrialist Solvay in Brussels turns into a museum
One of the most remarkable examples of the Art Nouveau tradition in Brussels and a UNESCO World Heritage Site will open to the public this weekend. The famous Hotel Solvay, designed by the renowned architect and one of the founders of the movement Victor Horta, becomes a museum and will accept visitors twice a week, starting from 23 January. This became clear during a meeting between the owner and Brussels authorities that took place on Wednesday.
Victor Horta’s Hotel Solvay becomes a museum
In a conscientious effort to open the city to people and in particular, to make heritage and culture more accessible, the Government of Brussels decided to open Solvay House to the public. To do this, the regional authorities funded the creation of a website and an online ticket reservation system.
The initiative belongs to Pascal Smet, State Secretary for Urbanism and Heritage of Brussels. “It was an absolute priority for me to open the Solvay House to the general public and I thank Alexandre Wittamer for having dared to take this step with us. This is a big step to make art nouveau the cornerstone of our city marketing and to show Brussels to the world as art nouveau capital. It is therefore very important that we can open up this exceptional gem to visitors,” Smet said on the occasion.
The owner of the house - Alexandre Wittamer – received a Bronze Zinneke from Prime Minister of Brussels Rudi Vervoort in recognition of the efforts of his family to preserve the cultural gem. Wittamer’s grandparents saved the house from demolition in the 1950s and the family have maintained it ever since, with the help of the heritage services of urban.brussels.
“[My family] wanted to pass on their love for Victor Horta and Belgian Art Nouveau to future generations. What we are doing now with urban.brussels is following on from what we started last century. It is wonderful that both young and old can discover and rediscover Art Nouveau. Brussels can be proud of its architects and artists of the time,” commented Wittamer upon receiving the statue.
A visit to the Solvay Museum takes 30 minutes and is open to people over 12 years of age. To book a visit to Solvay Hotel, one needs to purchase a ticket on the website hotelsolvay.be (16 euros). Combined tickets for the Horta Museum and Hotel Hannon are also being developed.
Horta’s heritage lives to this day
Hotel Solvay was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Monument in 2000. It is one of the most admired works of Victor Horta, as well as one of his best preserved.
In 1894 a chemistry magnate named Armand Solvay commissioned the project to the architect, as a home for his bride, giving him practically unlimited funding. The work on the structure was completed in 1898 and the interior decoration took a couple of years more. The finishing touches were put in 1903.
Over the decades, it has suffered several partial destructions, including a WWII bombing. Today the building awaits visitors, standing strikingly elegant at Avenue Louise 224.
Explore the gallery above to get a glimpse at the interior of Hotel Solvay.
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