La Maison du Roi
A neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece
Pierre-Victor Jamaer. 1873-1895
La Maison du Roi is one of the most accomplished examples of the "neo" styles that were cultivated during the 19th century. It is inspired by an idealisation of the building which it replaced, that was built at the turning point between the Gothic and Renaissance styles, after 1515. At the start of the 19th century, this building was damaged and almost fell into ruin. In 1873, the decision was taken to demolish and rebuild it.
Three solutions were available to the city councillors - as the building was owned by the City of Brussels. Either erect a modern building in its place, rebuild it as it was at the time with all the disparities resulting from its long and turbulent history, or rebuild it in a perfect state, as its architects would have wanted it at the start of the 16th century. The City opted for the last solution, without predicting either the unbelievable length of time it would take to rebuild (22 years! a record for such a project in the 19th century), or the huge expense it would involve (1,800,000 Belgian Francs, a fortune!).