Forest Municipal Hall

The Municipal Hall (French: Hôtel communal, Dutch: Gemeentehuis) of Forest is the municipal hall building and the seat of that municipality of Brussels, Belgium. Built between 1935 and 1938,[1] and qualified as a prototype of Brussels' Art Deco, this building illustrates the leading role the style played in public architecture during the interwar period.[2]

Forest Municipal Hall
Hôtel communal de Forest  (French)
Gemeentehuis van Vorst  (Dutch)
MaisonCommunaleForest.jpg
Forest's Municipal Hall
Forest Municipal Hall is located in Brussels
Forest Municipal Hall
Location within Brussels
Forest Municipal Hall is located in Belgium
Forest Municipal Hall
Forest Municipal Hall (Belgium)
General information
TypeMunicipal hall
Architectural styleArt Deco
LocationRue du Curé / Pastoorsstraat, 2
Town or cityB-1190 Forest, Brussels-Capital Region
CountryBelgium
Coordinates50°48′41″N 4°19′9″E / 50.81139°N 4.31917°E / 50.81139; 4.31917Coordinates: 50°48′41″N 4°19′9″E / 50.81139°N 4.31917°E / 50.81139; 4.31917
Construction started1935
Inaugurated1938
Design and construction
ArchitectJean-Baptiste Dewin [fr]

HistoryEdit

Inception and constructionEdit

In the aftermath of World War I, the municipal authorities of Forest wanted to build a municipal hall representative of its status as a flourishing suburb of Brussels. It was originally planned to build it on the site of the current Royale Union Saint-Gilloise Stadium in the Duden Park district but, after much discussion, it was decided to erect it instead on the grounds of the previous Municipal Hall, a neoclassical building dating from 1828, and in the place of a previous parsonage from 1734.

The current Municipal Hall was designed by the architect Jean-Baptiste Dewin [fr] in 1925,[2] and the municipal council approved the final plans in 1931. The first stone was officially laid on 19 May 1935 and the building was inaugurated on 9 July 1938.[1] The building has important interior and exterior decorations made by such artists as Victor Rousseau, Georges Baltus, Canneel, Stoffyn and Tricot.[citation needed]

Damage and protectionEdit

During World War II, the Municipal Hall suffered from bombings in Forest that lead to serious damage to the facade and the entrance portal to the Chaussée de Bruxelles/Brusselsesteenweg.[3]

On 22 October 1992, the exterior, interior and furniture of the building were classified as protected cultural monuments by the Royal Commission for Monuments and Landscapes. Forest's Municipal Hall is also on the list of protected immovable heritage monuments of the Department of Monuments and Landscapes of the Brussels-Capital Region.[4][5]

ArchitectureEdit

The asymmetrical Municipal Hall has a sleek geometric design with a tower on the side. The facades are made of small orange bricks and are adorned with stylised statues.

TowerEdit

 
Closeup of the tower's summit

The building is dominated by the tall silhouette of the tower, symbol of municipal freedoms and the independence of municipal power from the clergy.[1] Placed asymmetrically with respect to the main building, this multi-storey tower is adorned with large copper-sheeted statues. They are gilded with gold leaf and are the work of the sculptors Jacques Marin and Marnix d'Haveloose.

PortalsEdit

The main portal, located on the Chaussée de Bruxelles/Brusselsesteenweg, facing the park and at the foot of the tower, is made of blue stone. It gives access to the Wedding Room, located on the ground floor, and to a monumental staircase of black, grey and white marble which leads to the Municipal Council Room.[1] The second portal, located on the right side of the building, on the Rue du Curé/Pastoorsstraat, is smaller and gives access to the ticket and administrative offices.[1] The capitals of the portals' pillars are decorated with bas-reliefs that evoke family life and local trades such as brewing, laundry or shoemaking.[2]

FacadesEdit

Combining orange brick and blue stone, the facades have numerous brick pilasters whose blue stone capitals are adorned with masks from Greek tragedy or the mouths of animals (e.g. fish, felines) from which sometimes emerge drain pipes. The facades have many stepped gables,[2] the largest of which bear representations of a pelican and a seahorse.

See alsoEdit

Brussels Town Hall

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Van Cauwelaert 2004, p. 84.
  2. ^ a b c d Aubry, Vandenbreeden & Vanlaethem 2006, p. 259.
  3. ^ "Het Gemeentehuis — Vorst - 1190". www.vorst.irisnet.be (in Dutch).
  4. ^ (PDF) http://doc.erfgoed.brussels/REGISTRE/AG/018_020.pdf. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ (PDF) http://doc.erfgoed.brussels/REGISTRE/AG/012_001.pdf. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

BibliographyEdit