Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Victor Horta: Architectural Innovator of Art Nouveau

 In this blog, I have written about painters, sculptors, and printers but little about architects. It was not an oversight. It was because many avant garde architects such as Gaudi and Gehring have been widely recognized. Then, I came across Victor Horta (1861-1947) who has been called, "the key European Art Nouveau Architect." 


Born in Ghent, Belgium, Horta was educated in music, art, design and architecture. Early in his career, he began to work with iron and glass - often thought of as hard and angular materials. Horta designs wove them into sinuous shapes for both the exterior and interior. 

He designed a few houses, but quickly moved on to designing public buildings. His signature design was the whiplash curves which you can see in the photos here. These have a certain feeling of plant tendrils and became part of the description of the Art Nouveau period. 

  After WWI, Horta moved from the curving, sweeping style to a more geometrical one. This evolution would lead to Art Deco and Modernism. However, modernist felt no connection to Horta's Art Nouveau style and several of his buildings were demolished in the 1960s. 
UNESCO stepped in and preserved some of Horta's houses and buildings as World Heritage Sites. We are lucky to have these beautiful designs.
Here's more examples of the detail in Horta's works:


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