A nice piece of Art Deco craftsmanship, this enormous building (from the hand of Joseph Diongre) is in the shape of a steamboat. For decades after its rise between 1935 and 1938, its quarters overlooking Place Flagey and the Ixelles pond functioned as pioneering broadcasting studios that entertained and informed the populace. Word about the acoustic qualities of the building spread to other countries, and the steamboat soon found itself a musical nucleus, attracting many recording greats of the 20th century.
After the public broadcasting company exited the premises in the middle of the seventies, it took more than twenty years for a unified plan and purpose to come into focus. Thankfully, a 1997 workgroup arranged for the rescue of the symbolic site, transforming it into a cultural home for more than just music by 2002.
While its famous acoustic prowess – particularly that of the renowned Studio 4 (which still acts a residence for the Brussels Philharmonic) – is still being put to good use, Flagey has diversified to include cinema as well. Besides hosting concerts and festivals like Flagey Piano Days and the Brussels Jazz Festival, the audiovisual hub has taken to showing old classics of the silver screen, often in cooperation with Brussels’ house of film Cinematek. In a marvelous example of the two art forms colliding at Flagey, one of the most critically acclaimed soundtracks in movie history – that of the black-and-white Academy Award-winner The Artist – was recorded here not too long ago.
Guided tours of the building are possible from Tuesday to Friday, in between 12 and 5 pm.
📅 Tue-Fri 12pm-5pm and one hour before each activity, until the start of the last activity. Check the Flagey calendar for more information.
By Nana Van De Poel