Casa Solvay, Victor Horta

Casa Solvay, Victor Horta
Casa Solvay, Victor Horta

The Tassel House with its famous internal staircase is one of the best known and most praised works of the modernist artist Victor Horta, however this was not the only private residence he built throughout his career and even less was it the unique that has received international fame, in this sense we must highlight other works by the artist that today are included in the list of World Heritage Sites drawn up by UNESCO,such as the Solvay House.


Víctor Horta (1861 – 1947) has become a reference figure for European architecture. Although of Belgian origin the architect was trained at the School of Fine Arts in Paris where he studied architecture, years later he began to collaborate with the architect Alphonse Balat, from whom the artist would take a taste for classicism and well-defined lines. Perhaps the eighties were the most fruitful decade in terms of his art, at this time he began to work as a university professor and received the most outstanding commissions from him. Horta worked for the most prominent figures in Belgian society in a time of prosperity and abundance that allowed him to achieve great fame throughout Europe.

In the same year of 1895, the artist received important commissions, such as the private residence of the Solvay family.

Solvay was one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in the chemical industry in Belgium and spared no expense whencommissioned the artist to build his home. It was located on an important avenue in the center of the city and Horta built a splendid façade framed by two columns. The facade consists of three streets and three floors, on the lower floor you can see the influence of Balat in the classicist forms, but upon reaching the second level we find an advanced space that stands out from the rest of the construction but that in turn is set back with curved lines in the central part to show an architecture with great movement and dynamism. On the same façade, the artist has combined various materials such as wood, stone or even iron. The last floor of the façade is once again set back than the intermediate one, aligning with the lower part.

Inside the building the artist has a precious staircase that from the ground floor where the kitchens, stables or even the smoking room were located, gives access to the main floor of the house where the spaces were of reception such as the lounges or the dining room. On this floor, the different spaces are not aligned around a corridor -Horta's architecture is identified precisely by dispensing with them- but the spaces are separated by different screens that can be removed to create a large collective space. Screens and stained glass windows are essential in the architectural conception of this building, the artist even covers the main staircase with a large colored stained glass window that prevents air from being lostwarm in winter.

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