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Born in Ixelles, in the Brussels-Capital Region, he was the son of Gustave Saintenoy and Adele Cluysenaar. He is the grandson of the famous architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaar. His residence in Brussels was the Hotel Saintenoy, that became a listed monument in 1992.
He married Louise Ponselet, who is the niece of Jan Verhas. The little Louise figured on several paintings of her uncle.
They had two children:
- Jacques Saintenoy (1895-1947), architect.
- Jacqueline Saintenoy (1900-1978), married to the French executed minister Pierre Pucheu.
He began studying architecture in Antwerp in 1881 then returned home to complete his training in Brussels. With an interest in archaeology, for a time he served as the general secretary of the "Royal Society of Archaeology" in Brussels. In 1910 he embarked upon a teaching career at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
At the end of World War I, Saintenoy was appointed a member of the "Royal Commission of Monuments and Sites" where he played an important role in the reconstruction of Belgium following the devastation of the war.
- 1932 : Commander of the Order of Leopold. 
- Member of the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium.
- Old England Department Store, Brussels (1899).
- Hôtel Baron Lunden, Brussels (1898)
- Maison Losseau, Mons (1899)
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