Flemish Brabant villas to become protected monuments


Two unique houses in Flemish Brabant are being considered for protected monuments status, due to their unique characters and historical value

Lives of the rich and famous

Flanders’ heritage departments has put two villas in Flemish Brabant under temporary protection this week: The Herman Teirlinck house in Linkebeek and a cottage-style mansion in Zaventem.

Writer Herman Teirlinck, who died in 1967 and after whom the Flemish government’s administrative hub in Brussels is named, had a partially timbered villa built in an idyllic valley just over the border from Brussels in 1905. Teirlinck was 26 at the time and designed the house himself, inspired by the work of his good friend, architect Henry van de Velde.

Teirlinck did not hide himself away there: The house, on a small lane called Koekoekpad, became a hub for writers and artists until 1921, when Teirlinck relocated. Teirlinck was very prolific during this period, writing several novels.

 “The cottage-style house is in good condition and is the most high-profile writers’ homes from the period 1900-1914,” said heritage minister Geert Bourgeois. “The unique concept, the organisation of the space and the original interior finishes of this writers’ retreat offer a clear picture of the lifestyle of a Flemish writer in the countryside.”

‘A total work of art’

The second property, on the corner of Watertorenlaan and Onderwijsstraat in Zaventem, was built in the cottage style in 1914 by Brussels architect Jean-Joseph Prunelle. Known as a builder of homes for the wealthy and politically connected, Prunelle built this one for the Van Gils-Joly family, printing industry magnates.

Top-quality materials were chosen for the floors, doors and windows, and the stately mansion (pictured above) is still in excellent condition both inside and out. “It was clearly conceived as a total work of art,” said Bourgeois. “It will be protected due to its historical, architectural and artistic value.”

The final decision on whether to designate the homes as protected monuments will be taken next year, after municipal and public input is gathered.

Photo courtesy Onroerend Erfgoed Inventory