Houses of Strebelle brothers protected
Culture and modernism become Brussels heritage
Thursday, February 10, 2022 — “After the death of Olivier Strebelle, it was essential to protect his buildings in order to preserve the important contribution he made to Brussels’ artistic life. Future generations will be able to admire his heritage and we can be proud of that. It will remain a source of inspiration. The houses were designed by and for the Strebelle artists. Their entourage and the municipality of Uccle have initiated the protection procedure for this extraordinary building. The painters and sculptors had their studios there and built their own universe in the garden with trees and many sculptures,” said State Secretary for Heritage Pascal Smet.
With its pure lines and sober shapes, this house - almost perfectly preserved in its original state - faithfully reflects the modernist architecture of the late 1950s. The Brussels suburbs have many houses in this modern style, which is very diverse in terms of shapes and materials. These houses do not have one specific style, but reflect the openness to the world, the spirit of innovation and the freedom that characterised that period. Olivier Strebelle’s house and Claude Strebelle’s studio are remarkable examples of this type of house in the Brussels region.
The entire site, with its cobbled road, Claude Strebelle’s studio, Olivier Strebelle’s house-studio and its landscape with a mixture of exotic, dense vegetation and monumental sculptures, contains many elements of historical, artistic, aesthetic and scientific interest that deserve to be valued and preserved.
History of the houses:
In 1955, the young sculptor Olivier Strebelle asked his friend André Jacqmain to design the plans for his house. Three years later, the work was completed with an extension connected to the house and which housed the sculpture workshop. The Strebelle property is located on the border of the municipality of Uccle, next to the Verrewinkel forest.
Since the two friends designed a house adapted to the relief of the terrain, the house and its garden are a perfect fit. They include sculptures by Olivier Strebelle as well as tree species from all over the world (giant firs, red maples, pines from the Pacific coast, a weeping cedar, etc.). The interior was designed by interior architect-designer Jules Wabbes.
Strebelle's work evolved and he began to focus on large-scale sculptures. Because his works were so monumental, a new studio was added to the basement in 1958. It is slightly detached from the original structure and can be reached through a corridor under the kitchen.