Joe Ramaekers.

Find this building here on the Not In your Guide (Brussels) map.

In my small series that draws attention to the lesser known architects that have designed remarkable buildings in Brussels a small feature about Joseph ‘Joe’ Ramaekers. Not that I can tell much about the man because biographies are almost impossible to find and if available hardly mention more than his buildings during the Interbellum influenced by the Amsterdam School and their brick Modernism. It doesn’t help that much of the info I’ve found is mighty confusing due to contradictions and impossibilities. Irismonument for example, usually a trustworthy source of info, seems to confuse buildings by his father Eduard, known for his brick Neo-Gothic style, with his work. Buildings that can’t be his if other bios have his date of birth right.

What’s most important about an architect is his work anyway, so let’s concentrate on that. His magnum opus is without a doubt the apartment building on Avenue Molière 208-210 built in 1930. A 8-storey high play of intricate brown brickwork, rich in detail and remarkably well preserved (worst is some very awkwardly placed electric boxes against the facade in the Rue Joseph Stallaert). It’s one of those buildings that can keep you looking at it for hours, making everyone in the very bourgeois neighbourhood nervous if you’re dressed a bit shabby. Even the front yard is paved with bricks and well maintained. Would love to see the common spaces of the interior as every piece I read about it mentions its beauty but haven’t been invited into this fine example of Art Deco yet.

Another set of remarkable buildings by the same architect are 2 series of 3 terraced houses in the Rue Edith Cavell and Avenue Montjoie built in 1929. Both sets look very similar although those in the Rue Cavell look a little more outspoken due to differing windows and plastering. Other examples of his exceptional for Brussels style of brick Modernism / Art Deco I will share on my Instagram page in the days to come. On a firm walk from Schaarbeek to Uccle you’ll be able to see all of them.

In the meantime I hope this post will inspire people to do some research on the man and his oeuvre or invote home-owners to invite me to discover the interior beauty.

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