Friday, 28 October 2011

Four Seasons

These four substantial townhouses are positioned at each point of a crossroads at the corner of Van Merlen Straat and Waterloo Straat in the Antwerp suburb of Zurenborg. Designed as a group in 1904 by architect Joseph Bascourt, they differ only in detail and each is faced in white glazed brick and displays a pictorial mosaic panel relating to one of the four seasons of the year. The mosaics and wrought iron work are heavily Art Nouveau influenced but the buildings themselves have a more restrained and rectilinear character suggesting the influence of the Vienna Secession, with horizontal bands of coloured brickwork to relieve the monotony. Each house has two tall and eccentrically ornamented oriel windows that also serve to break up the façades. I was informed by a passing local resident that the group had been recently renovated and restored to their original condition.

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