Friday, 30 October 2015

Rembrandtlaan – an Arts and Craft suburb in De Haan

De Haan is a small select resort on the Belgian coast developed in the late 19th. and early 20th. century and laid out in conscious imitation of English town planning. Unlike the grid patterns that prevail in neighbouring resorts De Haan has a network of informal winding streets with a large circular open space in the centre. Outsize villas and hotels, mostly in the Style Normand, occupy the town centre with residential suburbs to the north-east and south-west where the street names honour great artists and writers. Rembrandtlaan is a short street that follows the route of the Kusttram (coastal tramway connecting De Panne and Knokke) in which all the homes were designed by the Ghent based architect, Valentin Vaerwyck (1882–1959) and built in 1924-27. In style these modest, unassuming houses seem to be Flemish rural vernacular meets post-war suburbanised Arts and Crafts. Hips, gables, dormers, ridge tiles, arrowslits and painted shutters set the tone. Privacy and cosiness are the priorities. The Sundial House (Zonnewijzer) was Vaerwyck’s own personal holiday home. An extensive list of buildings designed by Vaerwyck can be seen by following this link – he had a hand in designing the imposing railway station at Oostende, a full-blown exercise in French Classicism.

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