The lecture series of 2023 is dedicated to “Restoration”. We want to highlight good practices in the restoration of different materials and the solutions adopted that respect and enhance the spirit of the place.

To celebrate the year of Art Nouveau in Brussels, this year the lectures will be held in the Belgian capital, with the possibility of following them online.

The information on how to participate live and online will come in the coming weeks.

This year’s lectures are possible thanks to a grant from

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Barbara Van der Wee & Xaveer De Geyter

Architect and Prof. Em of Leuven University | Architect
Projet de rénovation et d’extension du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tournai


Barbara Van der Wee is a Belgian architect specialising in the restoration, renovation and revitalisation of valuable 19th and 20th-century historic buildings and sites, including buildings by Victor Horta. She is also known for the precision of her preparatory studies, including historical studies, feasibility studies, management plans and overall restoration plans, which she develops to respect the authenticity of the works.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Tournai was built by the Belgian architect Victor Horta, an international figure of Art Nouveau. Although the museum was conceived in 1903 and the work began before the First World War (1913), it was not completed and inaugurated until 1928.

The building is the only museum ever designed as such by the architect Victor Horta. It has an original ‘tortoise’ plan. Its style marks the transition between Art Nouveau and Art Deco-inspired modernism. It is probably one of the very prototypes of a modern museum on an international scale, and its beautiful monumental façade in Tournai limestone is particularly noteworthy, with its undulating, plant-like scroll and “whiplash” motifs typical of Art Nouveau. The dynamic articulation and clarity of its interior spaces are also remarkable, offering multiple perspectives that are constantly renewed, which constitutes its unique character. The complete covering of the building with glass ensures exceptional luminosity, in the form of diffuse lighting.

In the current state of its infrastructure, the Tournai Museum of Fine Arts is not able to fulfil its various missions in the scientific, aesthetic, preservation and leisure fields, as a “global” cultural tool. The safeguarding of the collections is currently in jeopardy, whether it be due to climatic conditions or their security (excessive light, excessive heating of the interior spaces, localized waterproofing defects in the roofs, and lack of space for the reserves).
In 2015, following a qualitative selection procedure by a jury led by the City of Tournai, Wallonia and the Architecture Unit of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the Brussels office XDGA (Xaveer De Geyter Architects) was appointed by the Municipal Council. The latter has joined forces with Barbara Van der Wee architects for the restoration of the historic parts. Barbara Van der Wee, architect and art historian, is one of the leading experts on Victor Horta.
Barbara Van der Wee’s team specialises in the restoration and conversion of 19th and 20th-century historic sites and buildings. The study of a conservation dossier is carried out in continuous collaboration with the entire project team (composed of the client, the design offices, the various departments of the City, the Service des Monuments et Sites, the CRMS, etc.) and with external specialists. The approach of the conservation project is therefore an integrated one, in which the team seeks to obtain in-depth knowledge of a site or a building to be able to enhance its authenticity while integrating new interventions, techniques and/or functions. In the project, the restoration of the existing building will therefore focus on the façade, the statuary, the facings, the interior plasterwork, the joinery, and the glass, without forgetting the upgrading to technical standards.

Daniela Costa Dornfeld Saldanha

PhD student and master’s degree in Architectural History at São Paulo University
Vila Penteado: la restauration de ses peintures murales Art Nouveau


Daniela Costa Dornfeld Saldanha (1978), architect, PhD student and master’s degree in Architectural History at São Paulo University. Member of Teaching Improvement Program in Art History at the same university. Selected to participate in the International Museology Seminar and Internship in French Museums, a partnership between École du Louvre and the Brazilian Institute of Museums (2016). Researcher at the Musée d’Orsay (2016).

The Vila Penteado, an architectural heritage of the city of São Paulo, is one of the rare vestiges of Art Nouveau production in Brazil. The lecture is dedicated to the restoration of the house, designed in 1902 by the Swedish architect (naturalized Brazilian) Carlos Ekman (1866-1940). The building was the residence of Antonio Alvares Leite Penteado (1852-1912), a farmer and one of the first industrialists in Brazil. However, the building became the headquarters of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning of the University of São Paulo in 1948, when the heirs donated the property. Nowadays, the building hosts doctoral and master’s courses in Architecture and Urbanism.
The Vila was one of the most significant residences in São Paulo at the beginning of the 20th century, firstly for the novelty of Art Nouveau and secondly for its proportions and comfort. It was composed of a large hall and fourteen rooms, moreover, the house was surrounded by an amazing garden. It was unprecedented landscaping for the period, including an artificial lake. In other words, for the first time in São Paulo, the figure of the palace emerged. This very urban symbol replaced colonial architecture and upset the previous urban organisation. This was the beginning of a new morphology of the modern Brazilian neighbourhood, a new phase of the metropolis and of the urban reorganisation.
The lecture proposes a debate on the three stages of the restoration carried out by the Centre for Cultural Preservation of the University of São Paulo (CPC-USP), which has set up a partnership with students receiving scholarships. Firstly, documentary research, architectural metric surveys and formal study of the house were carried out between 1990 and 1992 by the “Restoration Workshop”, to obtain a critical inventory of all the elements of the Art Nouveau monument. The architectural elements were recorded at the time through photographs and observation drawings, and eventually organised into material groups. Secondly, teams were engaged in stripping the wall paintings (1992-1993). And in the end, between 1993 and 2002, the paintings in eight rooms of the house were restored.
In sum, the Vila Penteado restoration project was intended to provide teachers and students with a unique experience in which, as they restored the building, they learned to restore it.

Elisabeth Horth and Allison Michel

Assistant curator of the Horta Museum (EH) and responsible for the collections at the Horta Museum (AM)
L’expérience des chantiers des collections au Musée Horta


Allison Michel : restauratrice de papiers formée à l’école de La Cambre (ENSAV, Bruxelles), responsable des collections au Musée Horta, enseignante dans l’atelier de restauration à l’école de La Cambre, (ENSAV, Bruxelles)

Elisabeth Horth : designer industriel formé à l’école de La Cambre (ENSAV, Bruxelles), conservatrice-adjointe du Musée Horta

Depuis trois ans, le Musée Horta organise chaque année un ou deux chantiers des collections, toujours motivés par une matière qui compose certaines oeuvres de nos collections. Nos premières expériences partagées par toute l’équipe de conservation ont traité les moulages en plâtre, les éléments de serrureries en métal, les éléments disparates en bois et les plaques photographiques en verre.

Transformant notre salle d’exposition temporaire pour quelques semaines en atelier polyvalent, une chaine est organisée pour traiter chaque élément de ces collections spécifiques de manière globale afin d’assurer une mise à jour de l’inventaire, des prises de vues digitales et un conditionnement adapté.

Après une phase analytique d’audit, il est possible de budgétiser le chantier, de constituer une équipe sur mesure, de fixer la procédure, la durée du chantier et les besoins spécifiques (rédaction d’un thésaurus, mise au point de tableur). Ensuite une chaine, comme dans une usine, est pensée en automatisant les taches, réduisant les mouvements et diminuant les risques pour systématiser le traitement et éviter tous dommage aux artefacts. Elle commence avec le poste de l’inventaire, puis suivent le dépoussiérage, le marquage, la conservation curative, la prise de vue numérique de toutes les faces et le conditionnement. S’en suit ensuite un post-traitement important au niveau des relectures des fiches d’inventaire, de la numérotation des milliers de clichés, de l’organisation des lieux de stockage et la cartographie des rangements. En fonction de la matière, de l’état de conservation, du nombre de pièces à traiter et des spécificités de chaque collection, cette chaine est adaptée mais son ADN reste constant. En effet la taille des artéfacts peut fortement complexifier les manipulations et adapter le conditionnement (par plateau, en caisses standard ou sur mesure). Le studio de photographie est chaque fois conçu en fonction de la matière, de la taille et de la fragilité.

Ces chantiers alimentent la recherche, la médiation et les expositions à venir. En effet la vue l’ensemble d’une collection permet d’assembler des éléments que le temps ou l’histoire avait séparé, d’identifier des pièces, de lancer des restaurations urgentes et de faire de nombreuses découvertes scientifiques pour nourrir nos articles ou conférences, nos futurs expositions, nos ateliers pédagogiques et aménagements d’espaces.

Les informations mises à jour, identifications et découvertes pendant ces chantiers sont interconnectés à l’élaboration et l’enrichissement des fiches d’inventaires que nous partageons sur le site conçu par Urban de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale.

Nous partageons de différentes manières avec des étudiants en histoire de l’art et en restauration ainsi qu’avec le public à travers de petites expositions nommées MicroMuseum et nos canaux habituels de communication.

A la suite du chantier de collections dédié aux moulages de petites et moyennes tailles, une nouvelle salle a été aménagée dans l’atelier de Victor Horta. Elle est à la fois la réserve pour ces moulages traités et salle didactique expliquant le processus créatif de Horta aux visiteurs.

Dans la maison personnelle, une chambre de bonne a été réaménagée pour accueillir la collection de boiseries rangée par formats.

Dans l’avenir, d’autres chantiers nous attendent autour du mobilier, des oeuvres d’art, des luminaires, des éléments en pierre, des archives papier et des plans et dessins. Mais la grosse question des réserves pour recevoir dans les conditions optimales les oeuvres parfaitement conditionnées et ayant une volumétrie augmentée reste cruciale et complexe à solutionner.

Jordi Bonet

Bsch., Chemistry. Stained glass restorer. J.M. Bonet Vitralls S.
Stained glass heritage from Casa Condeminas. Dealing with a fragile heritage in private homes


Laia Gomez Xaudiera: Technical Architect. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de tecnología de l’Arquitectura

Susana Pavón: Technical Architect. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de tecnología de l’Arquitectura

Jordi Bonet: Bsch., Chemistry. Stained glass restorer. J.M. Bonet Vitralls S.L.

During the Modernisme period, roughly 1880 to 1920, world-renowned buildings were constructed in Barcelona such as, Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, Palau de la Música. During this period of prosperity and growth of the city, the same architects, builders, and craftsmen also participated in the construction of other less known buildings, among which we find many residential houses and commercial premises.

Over the years a number of these buildings changed or adapted their rooms to other uses for many reasons: Some were rebuilt to fulfill the requirement of other activities, others were thoroughly modified to improve the comfort of the residents or were changed to match modern tastes or regulatory legal requirements. These changes often drastically affected the conservation of relevant heritage elements which ranges from loss and destruction to relocation or new construction of the elements with new different materials.

The Condeminas apartment building located on Passeig Colon, built initially in 1860, was the subject of a thorough refurbishing work in 1902 under the direction of the architect Josep Pujol Brull (1871-1936) promoted by the owner of the building, a shipping company named Condeminas. It used one of its floors as its offices while the other floors were home flats. After the 70s, various reforms gradually turned apartments into offices.


Stucco, stained glass, forged iron, mosaic, and woodwork, among others, are characteristic elements of modernist construction of unquestionably valuable that must be fully preserved. However, their conservation involves challenging and costly decisions that require also to be matched to the needs of the future uses of the building.

At present, a comprehensive rehabilitation of the house to recover the original use of the floors as apartments is being done while keeping and restoring all its heritage elements and adapting them to the regulations and the future domestic uses of the homes.

One of the most characteristic features of the Condeminas building is the leaded stained glass windows that are present in the central courtyard. This area covers some of the public areas of the house, stairs, and halls, but the leaded stained glass will also be present in the private bedrooms and corridors of the future flats.

The conservation of these objects is one of the priorities of the rehabilitation project, which needs historical research since their original authorship is still not known. Some clues suggest the participation of the renowned glassmaker Rigalt, Granell & Cia although so far this is only an educated guess.

This proposal is presented while the building enters the second year of the current refurbishing works and aims to describe the goals, methods, and materials used for the restoration and adaptation of the historical art nouveau leaded stained-glass windows to its future use as a heritage home windows.

The Condeminas building is one of the lesser-known jewels of Barcelona modernism and this presentation is a unique opportunity to focus on the values of the building and to make public the methodology and procedures used for the conservation of its windows.

Bénedicte Lacheré

Atelier bL vitraux
La restauration des vitraux de la Villa Majorelle à Nancy


Sylvie Pipoz et Claire Montégudet

Déléguée à la valorisation du patrimoine et architecte EPF
Une villa à livre ouvert


Sylvie Pipoz: Déléguée à la valorisation du patrimoine et médiatrice culturelle

Claire Montegudet : architecte EPF

La Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds a acquis, en mai 2022, la Villa Fallet. Cette maison emblématique du Style sapin, variante régionale de l’Art nouveau date de 1906. Œuvre d’art totale, rencontre entre le Heimatstil et les arts décoratifs, elle est conçue par les élèves du Cours supérieur d’art et de décoration de l’École d’art, accompagnés par le professeur et artiste Charles L’Eplattenier. Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, futur Le Corbusier, a notamment travaillé sur les plans.

Habitée jusqu’en 2022, la Villa Fallet a heureusement conservé la majorité de ses volumes intérieurs et extérieurs. Depuis une année, la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds mène différentes recherches afin de mieux connaître l’histoire de la construction, de retrouver les décors originaux et de réfléchir à la future valorisation de la villa. La documentation en notre procession ainsi que l’observation des lieux montrent que des décors peints se trouvaient, ou se trouvent encore, sous une couche de peinture blanche. Une recherche sur les matériaux et les motifs doit être menée.

Deux étudiantes ont consacré leur travail de Master, respectivement en histoire de l’art et en architecture, à l’étude de la Villa Fallet. Elles ont décodé le bâtiment dans ses moindres détails et comblé certaines lacunes dans la documentation. Une réflexion sur l’usage futur du lieu, allant de la maison-musée à la maison d’habitation, en passant par des usages mixtes impliquant la reconstitution de certains espaces et l’usage différencié des pièces moins intéressantes (pour des conférences, des réunions, de petites expositions) est en cours.

La conférence que nous proposons sera l’occasion de présenter cet objet du patrimoine, les études en cours, les projets de restauration et les questions délicates comme celle du type de restauration en fonction des matériaux. Elle fera l’état des lieux et sera également l’occasion de soulever cératines questions de fond qui se posent par rapports à a future restauration.

Tjaša Pristov

Conservation-Restoration Advisor at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia
Different presentation methods and methodological conservation and restoration approaches for decorative wall paintings of the Art Nouveau period


Mr.Sc. Tjaša Pristov, Conservation-Restoration Advisor at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia. For more than 20 years I have been engaged in the restoration of cultural heritage, especially in the field of wall painting, where I often carry out urgent restoration interventions or provide expert supervision for renovation works. In recent years, I have been intensively involved with decorative paintings of more recent periods, while I have tried to ensure appropriate documentation procedures as a basis for their valorisation and preservation.

During their work, conservators-restorers encounter different ways of presenting newly discovered wall paintings, and each of these ways usually requires different methodological approaches to conservation-restoration interventions. Over time, I have realised that almost every case is unique and that it is necessary to get adapted to it. In this lecture I will try to present some of the most common presentation methods by using different examples. I will try to answer the question of which are the main reasons for the different approaches and present how in each case we try to fulfil our basic tasks for protecting and preserving artistic heritage. I will try to explain what conditions we need to be as successful as possible to reach our intentions.

In cases where murals are not presented or even destroyed, I would like to emphasise the importance of thorough and accurate documentation. A partial or complete presentation of an original is usually possible only if the material state of preservation of the painting is very good and the renovation conditions are optimal. The presentation of extremely poorly preserved paintings can be partially or completely reconstructed only if the renovation conditions are very good, otherwise they are often destroyed. The basic characteristics of the decorative patterns of Art Nouveau have a special aesthetic perception, so they often require a complete reconstruction.

I would also like to point out the difference in the final presentation of wall paintings from different time periods. Normally, the presentation of Gothic or Baroque paintings is refined and restrained; overall, the original must be in the foreground and recognisable. This is contrary to the importance of the original in wall paintings of more recent periods, where the aesthetic value seems to be stronger than the value of the original.

Compared to other decorative paintings of the 19th and 20th centuries, Art Nouveau paintings have a smaller advantage in the possibilities of their presentation, mainly because of their typicalness and high recognative value. They have been well researched and assessed in the past, which forms the basis for the preparation of good conservation justifications and indications for the planned restoration. Compared to paintings from older periods, the general public is certainly the most familiar with the Art Nouveau. In our perception, they are more homely with them, aesthetically more acceptable for them, and the decorative sense as such is also easier to understand. These are the advantages of the Art Nouveau paintings, and for this reason a larger number of them can be preserved.

Tatjana Adamič

Conservator counsellor at the Institute for the Protection of cultural heritage of Slovenia, Regional Office Ljubljana
Renovation of the former Tivoli Hotel in Ljubljana: analysis, research, renovation, new use


Tatjana Adamič is conservator counsellor at the Institute for the Protection of cultural heritage of Slovenia, Regional Office Ljubljana, ed. Background University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Department of Art History. She is responsible for issuing cultural heritage protection conditions, approvals and prepares guidelines on the treatment of heritage within the procedure of drafting spatial and physical planning documents, and performs other tasks arising from the Cultural Heritage Protection Act. The main topic is immovable cultural heritage in Ljubljana from 19th and 20th century with a common goal to preserve and protect, raise the broader public’s interest in and take care. She also prepares conservation plans for cultural monuments in Slovenia. She is a member of the ICOMOS Slovenia, since 2014 is also member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Twentieth Century Heritage (ISC20C).

The former Tivoli Hotel, also called Švicarija after the guest house that previously stood on the site, was built in the greenery of Ljubljana’s City Park during a period of great social change of the Ljubljana bourgeoisie at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. During this period, Slovene was gaining importance in the otherwise German-speaking bourgeois society, which was reflected in the promotion of the Slovene language in public institutions and other public spaces, including the Tivoli Hotel. As a former meeting place for Ljubljana artists, who were largely the bearers of the national awakening ideas characteristic of the early 20th century, the hotel was later transformed into a haven for artists and the poorer classes of the population.

The analysis of the social context has provided interesting information on the origins of the hotel. The key was the decision of the Mayor of Ljubljana, Ivan Hribar, who, contrary to the popular belief that the building should be inspired by related German architecture, decided to base it on the tradition of Slovenian vernacular architecture, which represented the first attempts to promote the so-called Slovenian national style.

In the field of architecture, the influence of the Vienna Secession was particularly strong in Ljubljana at this time. In the case of the design of the Tivoli Hotel, the city architect Ciril Metod Koch, a prominent representative of the Secession in Ljubljana, attempted to create a characteristic Slovenian style based on traditional Slovenian Alpine architecture and intertwined it with Secession elements, which were expressed mainly in the stencilled ceiling and wall paintings. In addition to an analysis of the social circumstances in which the hotel was built, the structural and material condition of the building was thoroughly investigated prior to the renovation and the architectural paint researches of the façade and interior spaces were carried out.

Based on the results of researches, a conservation plan with guidelines for the comprehensive renovation and the identification of all authentic protected components, such as stone and wooden joinery elements and the stencilled ceiling and wall paintings, was drawn up. The renovation had to take into account modern standards in the field of earthquake and fire safety and energy efficiency, using methods adapted to the conservation of the protected components. These were restored in accordance with traditional conservation and restoration techniques.

After the complete renovation, which was finished in 2017, the building is managed by the Ljubljana’s International Centre of Graphic Arts, which has expanded its parent activity in the field of fine arts, exhibitions and events into the building. The vision of the centre is based on an understanding of the socio-historical contexts in which Švicarija has assumed different roles. In a historical perspective, it is described as a place of hospitality, coexistence, exchange and change. Švicarija is now becoming an international centre of residence and support for cultural mobility, a hub for creativity and production, a centre for knowledge exchange and a positive example of revitalising cultural heritage.

David Garcia

Architect at DAWOFFICE
Casa Vicens


David García (Barcelona, 1979) is an architect by Universitat Ramon Llull. His academic training has remained active in parallel to his professional career. He has completed the MPIA Master and written a thesis on Arne Jacobsen’s aggregative distributions, being currently a doctoral student in this field.

His professional career straddles between architecture, consulting and teaching. He started working in different architectural firms such as Estudio Benjamín Pleguezuelos or Martinez Lapeña – Torres arquitectos before founding his own studio together with his partner Antón Chacártegui in 2005. In 2010, he founded dawoffice, the studio he currently leads.

The various projects the studio proposed range from housing to urban masterplans, also including public facilities and heritage rehabilitation. Those do not seek to respond to a particular style, but are the result of an evolution in the design process. Among the most outstanding are the rehabilitation of the Casa Vicens together with Martinez Lapeña – Torres studio, the new Yacht Club in Premià de Mar, the rehabilitation of the Princesa19 residential building in the Born district of Barcelona or the drafting of the urban masterplan for Aguaduna, a future eco-city in Brazil.

The commitment to teaching architecture is another important point in David’s career. He has been professor and coordinator at ETSALS (URL) and collaborating professor at ETSAB (UPC).

He is also a founding member of foundawtion, a non-profit organization whose aim is to provide solutions to social problems using architecture and design. Its first project was the CEM Kamanar, a primary school in southern Senegal that has won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the FAD internacional a la opición prizes for its simple and modern design while respecting local techniques and materials. Dawoffice has designed some other social projects in Africa following the CEM, and today they are working on two international projects in Senegal and Namibia.


The first work built by the modernist architect Antoni Gaudí was Casa Vicens in 1885. It was a summer residence in the la Vila de Gràcia, a little town near Barcelona which nowadays is part of the city. It was renovated and enlarged by Joan Baptista Serra de Martínez in 1925, and unfortunately underwent several interventions between the 1960s and the 1990s. In 2005, UNESCO declared the house a World Heritage Site.

The refurbishment recovers the original appearance of the first two interventions and adapts its use to a contemporary museum-house.

The architect approached the house with some distance and independence. Working like a surgeon, the missing parts of the original work were replaced by new additions. Out of respect for Gaudí’s original work and with the desire to recover it, various volumes added in the 1965 extension were removed since they significantly modified the north-west façade and made it difficult to read it as a whole.

The intervention aims to revive Gaudí’s original work. The extension volume by Joan Baptista Serra de Martinez was considered as a heritage value to be maintained.

As for the façade, a comprehensive conservation and restoration plan was carried out. It was focused on the glazed ceramics, the most representative element of the house. After a precise study to identify the deteriorated pieces, these were replaced with reproductions made using the same original technique.

The interiors of the extension, which had been heavily manipulated when the original single-family house was converted into a multi-family house, were cleaned up and freed up to accommodate the facilities a museum requires (exhibition spaces, storage areas, vertical communications…), thus freeing up the space of the original house. Designing a new staircase that complied with current regulations and at the same time replaced the missing Gaudí original staircase was a great challenge. It was decided to place it as singular element in the heart of the building. It connects the three floors of the original house with the volume added in 1925. The staircase volume expands as a polygonal figure within the 20th century extension, and emerges on the roof as a geometric volume that complements the Moorish style of the house.

The roof, as designed by Gaudí, was a walkable space, a viewing platform over 19th-century Barcelona. The Arab and oriental influences on the hose are evident in this part of the house, clearly visible in the towers and domes. During the refurbishment, all the elements that make up the roof were waterproofed and repaired in order to recover it as another space in the house.

All the interventions proposed for the rehabilitation and accommodation of a museum in the house become an agreement between different architectural moments that never went hand in hand. It is therefore a project of conciliation.

Peder Alme

Trained sculptor, mould maker and a plaster work specialist
The ornaments at Øwregata 13/ Latinskolen, Ålesund Norway. 45 unique ornaments awaiting rescue

The building Øwregata 13, Ålesund Norway was built in 1907 in the aftermath of the town fire in 1904. Known as Latinskolen (eng.: the Latin school) the building has housed schools from its construction until today, the name being a notion of the building’s long tradition as such.

On its big façade to the south, Latinskolen is heavily decorated with ornaments: rectangular panels depicting acanthus themes with “green men” masks, humans, and animals. During a façade renovation on the building summer 2022 Ornamentfabrikken was asked to do restoration works on one heavily damaged ornament. Beginning the work, it got apparent that all the 45 ornaments on the façade- each unique and different to the rest- are in situ modelled by the 1907 artisan, and that they all need restoration of some sort. For the time being one of the ornaments is undergoing restoration work in the studio of Ornamentfabrikken, and a review of the other 44 ornaments have been made.

The lecture will deal with the progress of the restoration works being done on one of the ornaments by Ornamentfabrikken during fall/ winter 2022/ 23, the techniques and materials used in the making of the original ornaments, their current condition, and a suggestion for methods for restoring the rest of the 44 ornaments.

Ornamentfabrikken is a sole proprietorship dealing with manufacture and restoration of ornate designs on buildings and objects in the materials gypsum, lime mortars, cement, and concrete etc. Ornamentfabrikken was started in 2017 and is run by Peder Alme. Peder is a trained sculptor, mould maker and a plaster work specialist with a BA in ceramic arts from the Oslo National Academy of Arts and education and training in the practices of mould making and casting from the restoration workshop at the Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim. During the school year of 2022/ 23 Peder is studying building protection and rehabilitation practices of listed buildings.

Pascale Ingelaere

Responsable du Département Patrimoine Mobilier
Des pierres qui parlent ? Un projet de valorisation des vestiges de l’Hôtel Aubecq de Victor Horta


Pascale Ingelaere est Historienne de l’Art, Responsable du Département Patrimoine Mobilier au sein d’Urban; l’Administration régionale bruxelloise en charge de l’Urbanisme, des Politiques de revitalisation urbaine et du Patrimoine culturel.

Construit à Bruxelles entre 1900 et 1904 par Victor Horta, l’hôtel Aubecq était une des œuvres majeures de l’un des créateurs de l’Art nouveau.

Il se développait autour de l’une des célèbres verrières-signatures de l’architecte et déployait une façade en petit granit et granite rouge d’Ecosse aux proportions impressionnantes.

Pourtant, contrairement à d’autres réalisations de Victor Horta reconnues depuis lors comme Patrimoine mondial par l’UNESCO, l’immeuble ne résistera pas à la pression moderniste de l’après-guerre et subira la décision de son propriétaire de le remplacer par un « immeuble de classe ». L’hôtel Aubecq est démoli en 1950, après avoir vécu à peine plus de 45 ans au 520 avenue Louise.

Alors que l’aménagement intérieur et les meubles étaient décomposés et dispersés, un ensemble d’environ 600 pierres formant initialement la façade à rue de l’hôtel de maitre ont été sauvées de la disparition totale, soigneusement démontées et inventoriées par l’un des disciples d’Horta (Jean Delhaye).  L’état belge puis la Région bruxelloise ont alors hérité de l’une des plus incroyables collections de pierres sculptées Art nouveau, et cherchent depuis plus de septante ans à leur redonner un sens.. Après six déménagements et autant de récolement d’inventaires, une dizaine de projets de reconstruction ou de réintégration dans la trame urbaine ou dans des musées, l’hôtel Aubecq cherche toujours une nouvelle fonction, affectation, jeunesse..

Vestiges d’un patrimoine immobilier exceptionnel, les 600 pierres conservées aujourd’hui constituent également une collection de patrimoine culturel mobilier exceptionnelle (en tant qu’éléments démembrés d’un patrimoine historique) dont la qualité de la sculpture les élève au rang de véritables œuvres d’art.

Au-delà de la question de la conservation de cet encombrante collection dans un lieu approprié,  l’administration en charge du patrimoine culturel en Région bruxelloise ( cherche aussi à rendre cette collection accessible au public, totalement ou partiellement. Ces vestiges ont en effet énormément de choses à nous raconter, à nous transmettre, sur leur genèse, l’histoire de leur créateur, de leur commanditaire, les modes de vie de leurs habitants et de leurs contemporains, les artisans qui les ont sculptés et leur savoir-faire, etc.


C’est pour répondre à cet objectif que le projet intitulé Les pierres se racontent a été imaginé en 2021 dans le cadre de l’atelier XR4Heritage, un programme de valorisation du patrimoine basé sur l’utilisation phygitale des technologies émergentes. Une équipe, composée d’entités publiques et privées expertes dans différentes disciplines autour de la valorisation du patrimoine culturel, sa promotion et sa diffusion, s’est formée pour apporter l’expertise muséographique du projet, et a été mise en relation avec des studios de créations belges et canadiens pour imaginer les dispositifs numériques.

L’ambition de cette conférence est de retracer brièvement la courte histoire architecturale de ce chef-d’œuvre de Victor Horta et d’évoquer les pistes de mise en valeur que la Région espère développer, intégrant les technologies numériques de type Extended Reality imaginées par la-dite équipe pour offrir au public le plus large possible une expérience phygitale interactive unique qui rende visible l’invisible à partir des vestiges de la Façade Aubecq.