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EU creche construction 'endangers Horta building'
The renovation of a European Commission creche in Brussels risks endangering one of Victor Horta's most remarkable buildings, locals have warned.
The Commission premises on Avenue Palmerston in the EU district sit next-door to the Hôtel Van Eetvelde, a protected monument which the Art Nouveau architect designed and built between 1895 and 1901 for the secretary-general of the Congo.
The European Commission plans a major renovation of its building, including changes to the garden and the construction of a new four-storey building at the back, replacing car parking spaces on Rue des Eburons. A public inquiry into the changes was held over the summer holidays and has now closed.
Frank Hannes, from neighbourhood committee GAQ, said: "This building will disfigure an area of historical and aesthetic interest. On the face of it, we are not against the creche, but the European institutions are expanding in our neighbourhoods, creating infrastructures without thinking of the problems they cause."
Michèle Goslar, a Victor Horta expert, said building works next to a protected monument were dangerous. Vibrations from drilling, for example, can cause cracks to appear in neighbouring structures.
Brussels' city councillor for urban planning and heritage, Geoffroy Coomans Brachene, said protecting the Hôtel Van Eetvelde was "the top priority".