Modernism in Antwerp

Renaat Braem (1910 - 2001): controversial architect, visionary, artist. To some a dangerous Bolshevik and iconoclast, Belgium’s sole spatial theorist to others. In either case; he dreamt of a ‘liberated’ classless world and was convinced he could contribute to that through his architecture.

His own home (1958) shows evidence of his talent and eye for form and the concept of space. His quest to integrate the art forms culminates in his design of the Braem Pavilion (1963) in Museum Middelheim. The housing estate Arenawijk (1967) and his pillared blocks of flats in Antwerp-Kiel (1954-1958) show Braem for the convinced socialist that he was, always aiming for light, air and space for everyone.

Expeditie De Stad offers an unique visit to his house and a showcase apartment.

Léon Stynen (1899-1990): one of Belgium’s leading architects. A national figure but little known outside the country. “Architecture est devenu mon destin”, he said. Architecture was his destiny. He used his pencil to draw, not to write. Stynen never chose modernism in an urge to renew. It was a simple necessity to satisfy a need for beauty and perfection.  

Today Stynen’s testament, arts campus deSingel (1963-1988) still offers students, staff and visitors a special setting with its broad corridors and spacious classrooms. Eye for detail and carefully chosen materials reflect Stynen’s love for craftsmanship. The simplicity and modesty of concrete and glass contribute to the uniformity and serenity of the building.

In 2010 Stéphane Beel designed an extension with great respect for Stynen’s architecture.

Expeditie De Stad offers a unique visit behind the scenes and current exhibitions.



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