The Flemish Masters in architecture through the years
Rubens was a man who had no issue stepping out of his comfort zone. Not only his artistic brilliance, but also his eye for diplomacy and grandeur in general were held in great esteem, something he gratefully used to his advantage.
Rubens considered the Gothic architecture of the stunning Antwerp Cathedral to be outdated, so he used his political contacts to spread his love of Baroque in Antwerp.
In 1610, he bought his house and renovated it over five long years. Parts of the house, including his studio, were designed by Rubens himself. You could say that the magnificent Rubens House resembles an Italian palazzo.
He also focussed his architectural talent on the St Carolus Borromeus church at the Conscience square in Antwerp where he made a significant contribution to the general decoration by creating paintings, ceiling pieces and sculptures. There used to be no chairs in this church. It was a gathering place. Now there are the butterfly chairs designed by Arne Jacobsen. In Portuguese, Barocca means 'pearl of irregular shape' and this style suits the designer chair. On first impulse, the priest removed the coloured versions of the chairs from his church as he didn't think they fitted in.
In Flanders, the art cities are in close proximity.
Are you interested in architecture? Here is a selection that I can highly recommend:
The historic city centre, Antwerp Central (the most beautiful station in the world), stunning Art Nouveau and Jugendstil architecture in Cogels-Osylei, the Tropical Institute by Marcel Spittael and Paul Le Bon, the social housing blocks by Braem at Kiel, the Port House by Zaha Hadid, the new Courthouse by Richard Rogers, De Singel by Léon Stynen with an extension by Stephan Beel, the MAS by Neutelings and Riedijk...
The Krook, the town hall by Robbrecht and Daem, the Boekentoren by Henry van de Velde, Ghent Sint-Pieters station, De Vooruit. Or stay the night at the impressive Van Wassenhove House by Juliaan Lampens in Sint-Martens Latem.