Day 233/365 of Steel – Henri Maquet

The Iron Church of Leopold II

Henri Maquet (30 August 1839 – 27 November 1909) was a Belgian architect. He built an eclectic oeuvre and worked for King Leopold II. He continued Alphonse Balat’s work on the Royal Greenhouses.

Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, the Winter Garden
Fig 1: Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, the Winter Garden

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken were built between 1874 and 1905 on the initiative of King Leopold II. The conservatory complex is an extension of the left wing of Laeken Castle. Starting from the orangery (1817), Balat drew a glass corridor connecting that building to the Winter Garden. which would later serve as a connecting point for circulation within the entire complex.

The Congo Conservatory and The Winter Garden
Fig 2: The Congo Conservatory and The Winter Garden

The rotunda recalls Palm House in the Kew Gardens near London, whose spatial construction was replicated in the Crystal Palace designed for the London World’s Fair.

Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, dining room
Fig 3: Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, dining room

A third zone, the Palm Plateau, was constructed from 1892 to 1905. For this, Leopold called on Henri Maquet and Charles Girault after Balat’s death. The octagonal Palmen Pavilion was furnished as a bedroom and connected to the castle by a subterranean corridor. This is where Leopold II received his mistresses.

Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
Fig 4: Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

The New Orangery was probably designed by architect Henri Maquet and was built at the same time as the conservatory of the same name (1902). It is a rectangular building with rounded corners under a glazed barrel vault. It was designed as a gallery with arcades. It is connected to the Winter Garden via the Maquet conservatory.

Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
Fig 5: Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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