Maison du Peuple
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|Maison du Peuple|
View of Maison du Peuple in the late 19th century or early 20th century
|Type||Political headquarters premises|
|Architectural style||Art Nouveau|
|Named for||Workers (Belgian Workers' Party)|
|Material||White cast iron|
|Design and construction|
The Maison du Peuple (in French) or Volkshuis (in Dutch), both literally translated as The People’s Home or The People’s Hostel, was a public building in Brussels which was one of the most notable design by Belgian architect Victor Horta. It was one of the most influential buildings of the Art Nouveau design in Belgium. It was commissioned by the Belgian Workers' Party and opened on 2 April 1899.
Constructed between 1896 and 1899, it was demolished in 1965, and a skyscraper was built on site. Its demolition has been regarded as an "architectural crime" and an example of "Brusselization".
In spite of a rather restrictive very irregular building place along a circular square and on a slope, Horta succeeded to construct a building with maximum functionality. The building provided rooms for several aims like offices, coffee shops, shops, meeting rooms and a party hall. The building had been mainly constructed in white iron (more than 600,000 kilogrammes). Fifteen craftsmen worked for eighteen months on the iron work. To make this construction possible, Horta drew no less than 8,500 square meters of plans. The building was completed in 1899 and was considered a master work. Because of the experimental combination of brick, glass and steel this building was considered as an example of modern architecture.
It was situated on Place Emile Vandervelde, near to the Sablon.
In spite of an international protest movement of over 700 architects, the building was demolished in 1965. The building was dismantled entirely with the idea of rebuilding it elsewhere. However, the components of the building were scattered in vacant lots around Brussels, and the building was never reconstructed. Later, structural parts of the building were used in the Horta Grand Café in Antwerp.
The loss of the Maison du Peuple was part of the trend of Brusselization, where many historic buildings were wantonly replaced by unsightly skyscrapers. The Maison du Peuple itself was replaced by a generic building, built the year immediately after the Maison du Peuple's demolition.