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Iconic D’Ieteren headquarters placed on Brussels’ heritage watchlist

20:08 14/02/2024

One of the capital’s emblematic buildings, the modernist headquarters of the D’Ieteren Group in Ixelles, has been placed on the city’s conservation list

The decision by Brussels’ secretary of state for urban planning and heritage Ans Persoons follows a move to safeguard modernist and brutalist architecture.

In practice, this means that any future building work on large parts of the 1960s structure need to protect original elements of the architecture.


Persoons recognised that conserving post-war architecture style could be divisive. “Brussels is not only the city of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, our city also has many modernist and brutalist buildings. Architectural styles that some still consider 'ugly' today,” she said.

“However, we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past,” she pointed out. “This style perfectly reflects the spirit of an era and the renewal of the architecture of the 1960s and 1970s.”

The procedure to protect several parts of the imposing building in Rue du Mail started in 2022, initiated by Persoons’ predecessor Pascal Smet.

Occupying an area of 67,000 m², the site was initially acquired by the company in 1906. It became the headquarters of the family business and one of the main sites of its automotive activity.

D'Ieteren Urban.Brussels

The complex consists of several buildings, dating from different periods. The most interesting from an architectural point of view is on 50 Rue du Mail. Taking the form of a suspended superstructure, it appears to float above a carpark below. The grid-like exterior employs various forms of enamelled glass panels and alternating opaque and transparent glazing.

It was built between 1962 and 1967 to plans by architect René Stapels, assisted by Robert Badinet, B Lefèvre-Feragen, Jean-Louis Lemaître and Jamar. Stapels adhered principally to functionalism in architecture. He contributed notably to the design of the Royal Belge headquarters, the World Trade Center and Inno buildings in Brussels.

Photos: Ans Persoons Facebook page; D’Ieteren building in 2008 ©Belga/Aude Vanlathem; ©

Written by The Bulletin