Unesco recognises Antwerp’s unique Le Corbusier house


The Guiette house, an early project by the renowned Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, is to be added to the Unesco World Heritage list

Pioneering architecture

Maison Guiette in Antwerp, designed by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, is to be added to the Unesco World Heritage list, Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois has announced. In total, 17 buildings designed by the pioneering architect have been recognised as world heritage sites.

The Guiette house, Le Corbusier’s only work in Belgium, was built in 1926 for the Antwerp painter René Guiette, and is one of the architect’s earlier projects. Le Corbusier, whose real name was Charles Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930.

“The white rectangular house is the image most people have of modern architecture, but the funny thing is, if you look at Le Corbusier’s designs, he was originally thinking of a sort of chocolate colour,” said Piet Geleyns from the Flemish heritage department. “It was ultimately constructed in a cream colour but rapidly painted over in black. Only after the restoration in the 1980s was it painted white again.”

The Unesco decision also includes 16 other works by the architect in Argentina, Germany, France, India, Japan and Switzerland.

Other World Heritage sites in Brussels and Flanders include the Grote Markt in Brussels, the historic centre of Bruges, the Plantin-Moretus complex in Antwerp and the Stoclet house in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe. Also listed are the 13 remaining begijnhoven (beguinages) and 26 bell towers, and buildings designed by the Brussels architect Victor Horta.

Photo: Stefan Dewickere/Provincie Antwerpen