The world-famous Cauchie House opens to the general public. Anyone who books in advance can visit it at a reasonable price, from 3 July. This is a result of the great cooperation between the owners (Dessicy family) and the Region. After the stunning Solvay House opened to the public in January, Belgian and international visitors are now also welcome to discover the Cauchie House. No surprise that Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism and Heritage Pascal Smet is delighted.
The Cauchie House is unique. Thanks to the Dessicy family and the cooperation with urban.brussels, we can now show it, just like the Solvay House, to all Brusselers and visitors. The Cauchie House will be featured in tourist guides all over the world. This way, we improve the international image of Brussels and provide a new asset when the tourism sector relaunches this summer.Pascal Smet, Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism and Heritage
1. History of the Cauchie House
This Art Nouveau house was designed in 1905 by and for architect-decorator Paul Cauchie. The facade is inspired by the Glasgow School and combines perfect symmetry with verticality and geometry. This is where it differs from the plant-like lines of the Belgian Art Nouveau. Although Paul Cauchie created hundreds of murals in Belgium, those that cover the facade of his own house and adorn the ground floor are extraordinary.
In 1979, Guy Dessicy saved the house from demolition. Architects Jean-Jacques Boucau and Xavier de Pierpont and restorers Marc Henricot and Walter Schudel then restored the house at the request of Guy Dessicy and his wife Leona. Michèle Dessicy is one of the five daughters of Guy and Leona Dessicy, who in the 1980s restored the then neglected house. She says, “A Chinese proverb says that a house does not only belong to its owner but also to the one looking at it. This also applies to our Cauchie House. In this key period, the Cauchie House must find its way between dream and reality. Today’s reality that it needs good care. The dream, which are all the beautiful projects that our parents and the team of “La Maison Cauchie asbl” have imagined, for more than forty years. Our parents often said that Paul Cauchie, who designed the house, was above all a craftsman. Poetry and beauty characterise his architecture and designs, while the house is also a great source of inspiration and creativity. We want to highlight that in the coming years.”
2. The treasures within
It contains numerous paintings and creations by Paul and Lina Cauchie (Carolina Voet), listed in an inventory of the KIK-IRPA. Urban has indeed commissioned the KIK-IRPA to create an inventory of its movable heritage collections. The inventory contains 185 elements and shows both the quality of the furniture designed by Paul Cauchie for his house/atelier and the architect’s painting oeuvre. The collection also highlights the quality of the paintings of his wife Carolina Voet, known as Lina Cauchie.
The Cauchie House is an Art Nouveau gem with a unique collection that brings to life the various aspects of an original, creative Brussels artist. The Dessicy family has carefully preserved these works, including drawings, paintings, furniture and graffiti. At the request of urban.brussels, they have been meticulously listed in an inventory of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) and are now available to the general public.Constantin Pion, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA)
3. Maintenance and restoration
The owners have recently commissioned the firm “Architectures Parallèles” to draw up a heritage management plan. This way, the maintenance and restoration works for the coming years can be examined, identified and carried out. This important work is being carried out together with urban.brussels and with the support of KIK-IRPA.
The Cauchie House can be visited every Saturday, reservations are required and can be made via the website, with all visits being guided tours lasting one hour.