Sunday, February 1, 2009

New Babbage Travelogue: The Maison Horta



Maison Horta, in the NE corner of the New Babbage Palisade

While taking a constitutional this morning, I happened upon a unique build in the NE corner of the city. Perhaps not necessarily notable from a “dramatic” perspective, upon closer inspection, one can see the uniqueness of this build. The Maison Horta (Horta House), built by Miss Beq Janus, is based upon the original designs of Mr. Victor Horta, one of premiere Art Nouveau designers of the late 1900s (e.g. the Steampunk era).



RL: View in the "Casa VanEetvelde" in Bruxelles



RL: Stairwell example in the Musee Horta

A student of architecture from a young age, he later developed a passion for Art Nouveau while in the employ of Alphonse Balat, who at the time was the architect to Emperor Leopold II of Belgium. While there, he assisted in the construction of the Royal Houses of Greenlaeken, a notable build with an emphasis on the use of glass and iron in its design.



RL: Second stairwell example



RL: Third stairwell (yes, a lot of stairwells, but it I'd say it does exemplify the use of designed iron and brass in a utilitarian method).

In 1892, he attended an Art Nouveau exposition, and was taken by the use of curvature in design of iron support , an ideal he called “Biomorphic Whiplash”. He continued to build notable designs throughout the 1890s and 1900s in Belgium, most notably the “Maison du Peuple” in Brussels, the “Grand Bazar Anspach” department store, and the “Hotel Solvay”.



RL: Doorway entrance, with Nouveau glass detail

Unfortunately, in the name of progress, many of his beautiful after Art Nouveau lost its pre-eminence, and only a select few survive into the 21st century. However, a few did manage to survive, and are considered UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Magasins Waucquez (formerly a department store) and four remaining hotels.



SL: View of the main sitting room in the Maison Horta

With this in mind, Miss Janus Beq took it upon herself to build a representation of Mr. Horta’s RL buildings in the Palisaides, just across from the Lovelace Memorial Park. The Maison Horta is a well done representation of his work in SL, with attention paid to small details and representations of his work.



SL: Secondary view, including a fourth stairwell (lol)!

From the staircases, the exterior design, interior decorations (in RL, Mr. Horta was an interior designer prior to becoming an architect, so I’m certain that portion was quite a challenge for Miss Beq), to the art work (a nice photo of one of Mucha’s pieces hangs in her main sitting room), the comparisons are smartly done.



SL: Sitting parlour at the Maison Horta

I have to admit an admiration for her efforts, as I had in the past for Miss Echegaray’s work on the Charles Renee Mackintosh house. Making an industrial build, while common in the Steampunk genre, is a bit easier than trying to recreate a RL build (as I am currently learning myself ), but recreating a RL era build take a good bit of work, which often times goes unrecognized. My kudos to Miss Janus for her work on infusing a bit the Art Nouveau beauty into New Babbage.



SL: Hallway leading to the Palisade wall (north)

References:
Wikipedia for Victor Horta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Horta
Great Buildings Horta Reference: http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/Victor_Horta.html
The Horta Museum: http://www.hortamuseum.be/
Sences Art Nouveau, Victor Horta: http://www.senses-artnouveau.com/biography.php?artist=HOR
UNESCO World Heritage - Victor Horta: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1005

To visit the Maison Horta in-world, please turn to:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Babbage%20Palisade/237/120/1401

2 comments:

Beq said...

Thank you for this lovely article and your interest Mr Fabre.

I am always happy to show people around and tell them more of the building RL or SL.

Dr. Rafael Fabre said...

Madam, it is my pleasure to be able to highlight a gem in New Babbage.