Press release - UCLouvain LOCI+LAB monograph
Do you ever look up at the buildings that make up our cities? Brussels housing architecture is like the city itself: diverse, surprising, and often made up of heterogeneous collages of buildings of different periods and sizes. Thus the residential fabric of Brussels includes both two- and three-storey terraced houses with rear gardens, as well as modernist flat blocks, 19th-century mansions, and brand new complexes.
Professor Gérald Ledent and researcher Alessandro Porotto of the UCLouvain Faculty of Architecture LOCI and LAB* in the Brussels commune of Saint-Gilles publish the first exhaustive monograph on Brussels housing architecture. The monograph, which tells the architectural history of Brussels housing, shows why there is such a wide variety of housing in Brussels, ranging from terraced houses to apartment blocks. Some 700 original illustrations – drawings and photographs by Maxime Delvaux – bear witness to this great variety.
Through more than 100 exemplary buildings, the authors tell the history of Brussels housing, from the city’s origin to its golden age (late 19th century), up to contemporary practices. From era to era, social developments (the mutation from large family households to a majority of people living alone today; the advent of social housing and the emancipation of the working classes; the desire to find alternatives to private property, etc.) and technological advances (lifts, cars, mains drainage, etc.) leave their mark and impact the spatial layout of housing.
While infrastructure and institutions form the city’s backbone, the book shows that housing, whose evolution shaped the city’s evolution, is the city’s flesh and blood.
Brussels Housing. Atlas of Residential Building Types. (2023). Gérald Ledent, Alessandro Porotto. Bâle: Birkhäuser. 352 pp. Hardcover, text in English, 500 b&w and 200 colour illustrations. ISBN: 978-3-0356-2550. €72
This book is published with the support of Urban Brussels, the Cellule Architecture of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, the Vlaamse Overheid and the City of Brussels.
* LAB: Louvain Research Institute for Landscape, Architecture, and Built Environment