Door 4: Juliaan Lampens

© Dieter Lampens

Recently the interest in Brutalist architecture skyrocketed and found a new, younger fanbase. Associated with are normally large eponymous, most of the time public buildings, but that it also works subtly on smaller scales and private properties is often forgotten.

House Van Wassenhove

A pioneer in this sense was the Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens, who died this year aged 93. He was born in 1926 to a carpenter father in De Pinte. Before opening his own studio in 1950 in Enke, he studied architecture at the Higher Institute for Art and Vocational Training of the Sint-Lucas School in Gent.

A huge impact on his architectural practice had the World Fair 1958 in Brussels, where he was exposed to Modern architects like Le Corbusier, who showed his Philipps pavilion there. This inspired him to build his own house in 1960, where for the first time he applied his avant-garde style of living without barriers.

House Vandenhaute-Kiebooms 1967 Zingem, Belgium © Jan Kempenaers

From this turning point on, he focused on three main materials, concrete, wood and glass, which became his signature. His houses were built to be in harmony with the environment, often closed off from the public on the one side, and completely open towards nature on the other side. He is famous for private residencies, next to his own, like the Vandenhaute-Kiebooms House (1967), the Van Wassenhove House (1974) and public buildings like the Kerselare Chapel (1966) in Edelare or Eke's Library (1970).

Kerselare Chapel, Edelare, Belgium © Jessy van der Werff

Next to Le Corbusier, he was also inspired by Mies Van der Rohe, Oscar Niemayer and the bunkers along the Atlantic coast. As so often, it took decades for him to be appreciated and only got his international recognition in recent years, but throughout all of his career he stayed true to his architectural style and vision.