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Visiting Saint-Pierre de Maubroux church, Genval, Belgium: an intriguing bell-tower, traditional or Modernist?

Updated on July 29, 2013
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
Church of Saint-Pierre, Genval
Church of Saint-Pierre, Genval | Source
Genval - Church of Saint-Pierre de Maubroux
Genval - Church of Saint-Pierre de Maubroux | Source
 Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House on the campus of the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House on the campus of the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. | Source
Sant' Antonio Abate church, Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland
Sant' Antonio Abate church, Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland | Source

Conflicting or complementary terminologies?

Alfred Lannoye (1874-1938) was a man of many parts. At first known as a local industrialist in Genval, Belgium, he also served as Mayor of Genval (1). Perhaps more in his private capacity rather than in his municipal role, he also sponsored the building of the church of Saint-Pierre de Maubroux (2) in Genval.

Its building materials are a combination of brick and concrete: said to be unique in a church building in Belgium.

Intriguingly, some sources give this building's architectural style as Modernist, while others claim it is 'traditional' Italian.

I suppose the use of the term 'eclectic' would be a compromise, but this would still not explain the perceived conflict in opinion about its style, especially that of the conspicuous, four stoey bell-tower.

If one considers some of the features of the building, it is possible to see how its style could be interpreted as Modernist. For example, the use of concrete and the wide roof to the bell-tower may seem to recall the horizontal lines and projecting cantilevered roof eves in designs by Frank Lloyd Wright (e.g., by way of comparison I have suppied a photo, right, of Robie House, Chicago).

On the other hand, Alfred Lannoye himself claimed his design instructions to have been inspired by Italianate buildings in Ticino, Switzerland. (I have also supplied a photo, right, of a church building in the Swiss canton of Ticino.) Thus, he himself, would regard the design of Saint-Pierre de Maubroux church as quite 'traditional'.

Another unusual feature of the building lies in that it faces north-west rather than the traditional east for much ecclesiastical architecture.

Genval is located in the Rixensart municipality of the Walloon Brabant (French: Brabant wallon) province in Belgium's Walloon region (French: RĂ©gion wallonne).

July 29, 2013

Map location of Rixensart municipality in Walloon Brabant
Map location of Rixensart municipality in Walloon Brabant | Source


(1) He served as Mayor from 1926 until 1938. Genval subsequently became part of Rixensart municipality.

(2) Maubroux refers to the immediate locality in Genval, where the building is situated.

Also worth seeing

Lake Genval (French: Lac de Genval ; known in Dutch as the Meer van Overijse-Genval ) and its late 19th century castle (distance: approx. 1 kilometre) is a scenic feature, through which the linguistic boundary between the Walloon and Flemish regions runs.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. The Belgian railroad company SNCB / NMBS maintains a railroad link to Genval station. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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