Alphonse-Hubert-François Balat


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Belgian architect. In 1852 he became architect to the Duke of Brabant (the future King Leopold II (reigned 1865–1909) ), which gave him enormous clout. Although influenced by Viollet-le-Duc in his search for a rational approach to design and for ever-increasing simplicity, he drew on the immense vocabulary of Classicism whilst also experimenting with advances in engineering, which influenced his pupil Horta and other later exponents of Art Nouveau. His Classicism struck the right note with the Belgian nobility, who commissioned him to carry out numerous works (e.g. the van Assche Palace, Wetenschapsstraat, Brussels (1856–8—with its Italianate astylar façade) ). His best works were the Royal commissions, including the Riding-School and Winter-Garden (1873–4) and the celebrated glass-houses (1883–7) at Laeken, and the grand stair and several State Rooms (e.g. Throne-Room, Marble Hall, Grand Gallery) as well as the garden elevation of the Royal Palace, Brussels. His masterpiece is reckoned to be the Neo-Classical Palais des Beaux-Arts (now the Musée d'Art Ancien), Brussels (1875–88).

Loo (ed.) (2003);Placzek (ed.) (1982);Petra Maclot ;Jane Turner (1996)

Subjects: Architecture.

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