Villa Empain

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Villa Empain
Alternative names Villa Roosevelt
General information
Type Private house
Architectural style Art Deco
Address 67 avenue Franklin Roosevelt, B-1050
Town or city Brussels
Country Belgium
Coordinates 50°48′26.94″N 4°23′3.12″E / 50.8074833°N 4.3842000°E / 50.8074833; 4.3842000Coordinates: 50°48′26.94″N 4°23′3.12″E / 50.8074833°N 4.3842000°E / 50.8074833; 4.3842000
Construction started 1930
Completed 1934
Renovated 2009-2010
Client Baron Louis Empain
Owner Boghossian Foundation
Technical details
Floor area 2,500 m2 (27,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect Michel Polak
Renovating team
Architect Francis Metzger
Renovating firm Metzger et Associés Architecture

The Villa Empain is a private house in the Art Deco style designed and built between 1930 and 1934 by Swiss architect Michel Polak for Baron Louis Empain, son of Belgian industrialist Baron Édouard Empain, located in Brussels, Belgium.


Louis Empain did not follow his father's entrepreneurial footsteps and barely inhabited the villa[2] after its completion in 1934.[3] He donated the property to the Belgian state in 1937, with the intention of turning it into a museum of decorative and contemporary art. The foundation, known as the Le Cambre School hosted various exhibition in the villa until 1943. During the German occupation in World War II, the property was requisitioned by the German Army.[3] It served afterwards as the Embassy of the Soviet Union. In the 1970s, the villa was rented by RTL television before being left unoccupied in the 1990s.[3]

In 2000, the villa was purchased by Belgian businessman Stéphan Jourdain, he then proceeded to modernise the building without gaining appropriate permission, removing many unique articles and so on 12 July 2001 the Brussels based conservation organisation, 'Monuments et Sites' sought to rescue the site from further destruction and locked the site down from further action.[4] In 2001 the villa was added to the architectural heritage list of Brussels.[3] The site then lay empty and suffered from vandalism and squatters. In 2008, the Fondation Boghossian acquired the building and initiated an extensive renovation program. Inaugurated in 2010, the villa is a cultural center which hosting art exhibitions, concerts and conferences.[5][6][7]

The conservation project was awarded the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in 2011.[8][9]



  • Colors of the Orient, Arts and lifestyles in the Ottoman Empire


  • Of women’s modesty and anger[10]
  • A dream of eternity. The long road of Oriental arts


  • Art is the answer! Contemporary Lebanese artists and designers
  • Edouard and Cleopatra. Egyptomania’s from the XIXth century


  • Turbulences II[11]


  1. ^ Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (2007), "Hôtel Empain", Inventaire du patrimoine architectural (in French) (Brussels), retrieved 23 April 2010 
  2. ^ David Tresilian (19–25 August 2010). "Memories of Baron Empain". Al-Ahram Weekly. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Brief history of the Villa Empain". Villa Empain. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Villa Empain — Boghossian Foundation". Visit Brussels. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Duplat, Guy (1998-09-11), "La villa Empain ressuscite", La Libre Belgique (in French), retrieved 23 April 2010 
  7. ^ François, Robert (2008-12-05), "Le chef-d’œuvre de l’Art déco sera restauré", Le Soir (in French), retrieved 23 April 2010 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Pudeurs et colères de femmes". Exponaute. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Turbulences II". 2013-02-28. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • (French) Roset, C. (1935). "L'hôtel particulier du baron Louis Empain, avenue des Nations, à Bruxelles". La Technique des Travaux (Brussels) 8: 394–401. 
  • (French) Flouquet, P.-L. (1938). "Une perle fausse. L'avenue des Nations". Bâtir 67: 251–252. 
  • (French) Maillard, R. (1935). "L'hôtel du baron Louis Empain". Clarté 8: 1–6. 
  • (Dutch) Duquesne, S. (1996). "De residentie van Baron Louis Empain". M&L, het tijdschrift voor Monumenten, Landschappen en Archeologie 2: 6–20. 
  • (French) Carlo R. Chapelle, La Voie lactée ou quelques notes concernant l'hôtel Empain, Bruxelles, 2007 ].
  • (French) Hôtel Empain Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67, Online Inventory of the architectural heritage of Brussels online,

External links[edit]