MAISON GUIETTE
Le Corbusier’s Antwerp ‘machine for living in’
26 septembre 2015 - 10 janvier 2016
Fifty years have passed since the death of Le Corbusier (1887–1965), the world’s most influential twentieth-century architect. Maison Guiette is his only remaining work in Belgium. It offers a fine example of the early architectural concepts of this innovative figure. Parallel to the exhibition Lived-In. The Modern City as Performative Infrastructure APA will be showing the turbulent history of Maison Guiette in the Vitrine of the VAi – CVAa.

Idealistic modernists are not just pioneers of a new formal language. In addition, they often feel the need to redesign the very fabric of society. Le Corbusier (1887–1965) saw his houses not only as model homes (machine à habiter), but also as modular homes (immeuble-villa). They do not stand as isolated paragons, but fit into a larger whole comprising linked housing units.

That a project like Maison Guiette was able to fit into such a totalitarian approach, however, does not mean that it could escape the changes imposed on it by subsequent generations. After its design and realization, the Maison Guiette suffered from structural defects, aesthetically ill-considered interim solutions, severe deterioration, incomprehension and the very real threat of demolition. Fortunately the situation has changed to one of recognition – however reluctant – with new owners, thoroughgoing restoration and two extensions. One can only hope that, after being recognized as a protected monument by the Flemish government in 1978, it will finally be added to the Unesco World Heritage list in 2016.

This small-scale exhibition tells the story (in pictures) of the studio house of painter René Guiette (1893-1976) and its interactions with an ever-changing reality. Background information (only in Dutch) can be found in the free brochure.

Co-production
APA (Architectural Archives of the Province of Antwerp), Antwerp (B)
CVAa (Centre for Flemish Architectural Archives), Antwerp (B)
VAi (Flemish Architectural Institute), Antwerp (B)

Curator
Wim Luyckx, APA (Architectural Archives of the Province of Antwerp), Antwerp (B)

Exhibition design
BC Architects & Studies, Brussels (B)

Translation and copyediting
Irene Schaudies, ACHAA, Antwerp (B)

Venue
deSingel, International Arts Campus, Antwerp (B)
www.desingel.be/en/programme/architecture/12704/Levensecht-De-performantie-van-de-moderne-stad--tentoonstelling
Architectuurarchief Provincie Antwerpen (APA)
The Architectural Archives of the Province of Antwerp (APA) is a provincial archive and preservation institute specialised in the collection, storage, publication and study of highly diverse archival material about Antwerp’s architectural history from 1800 to the present. The concept of architecture is interpreted in the broadest possible sense. The focus is not exclusively on architects’ archives, but on material from related actors, such as contractors and interior architects, or social housing developments and building promoters. The APA collection is open to the public. Its active role as a functioning architecture archive is made possible by gifts, including but not limited to archives and libraries, which add to the collection. For this exhibition we were able to make use of the Paul Smekens archive and the recently acquired archive of George Baines.
In 2015, APA received the Flemish Government’s quality label as a recognized cultural archive (Erkend Cultureel Archief).
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Maison Guiette
Front and side façades of Maison Guiette after completion of the restoration, APA
Archief Georges Baines, 1987
© FLC/ADAGP
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Georges Baines,
Model for Maison Guiette, Model after Le Corbusier’s initial design for Maison Guiette, APA,
Archief Georges Baines, s.d.
© FLC/ADAGP
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Georges Baines, Model of Maison Guiette,
Model after Le Corbusier’s design for Maison Guiette, showing detailed interior and colour scheme, APA,
Archief Georges Baines, 1987
© FLC/ADAGP
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Georges Baines,
Preliminary drawing for the extension,Preliminary drawing for the extension to Maison Guiette,
Private collectionBaines, ca. 1993
© FLC/ADAGP
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Georges Baines,
Preliminary drawing for the extension,Preliminary drawing for the extension to Maison Guiette,
Private collectionBaines, ca. 1993
© FLC/ADAGP
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