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Brussels Town Hall

The Town Hall (French: Hôtel de Ville, Dutch:  Stadhuis ) of the City of Brussels is a Gothic building from the Middle Ages. It is located on the famous Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium.

The oldest part of the present Town Hall is its east wing (to the left, when facing the front). This wing, together with a small belfry, was built from 1402 to 1420 under direction of Jacob van Thienen, and future additions were not originally foreseen. However, the admission of the craft guilds into the traditionally patrician city government probably spurred interest in expanding the building. A second, shorter wing was completed within five years of Charles the Bold laying its first stone in 1444. The right wing was built by Guillaume (Willem) de Voghel who in 1452 also built the Magna Aula.

The 96 metre (310 ft) high tower in Brabantine Gothic style emerged from the plans of Jan van Ruysbroek, the court architect of Philip the Good. By 1455 this tower had replaced the older belfry. Above the roof of the Town Hall, the square tower body narrows to a lavishly pinnacled octagonal openwork. Atop the spire stands a 5-metre-high gilt metal statue of the archangel Michael, patron saint of Brussels, slaying a dragon or devil. The tower, its front archway and the main building facade are conspicuously off-centre relative to one another. According to legend, the architect upon discovering this "error" leapt to his death from the tower. More likely, the asymmetry of the Town Hall was an accepted consequence of the scattered construction history and space constraints.


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