Stoclet Palace was commissioned by Adolphe Stoclet (1871-1949), a wealthy industrialist and avid art collector. He chose 35 year old Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956), a founder-member of a radical group of designers and artists who called themselves the Vienna ‘Sezession’, established in 1897.
The Stoclet Palace was the first residential project for the Wiener Werkstatte (Vienna Workshops), co-founded by Hoffman in 1903. Josef Hoffman as his colleagues designed every aspect of the mansion, down to the door handles and light fittings.
The interior is as spartan as the exterior, with upright geometric furniture and an avoidance of clutter. This was a fashionably avant-garde approach, presenting a ‘reformed interior’ where functions dictate style.
The Stoclet Palace was built on Avenue de Tervueren in the municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Brussels. The building was designed to be, when seen from the road, a stately city mansion.
When seen from the garden at the back, in the words of architectural historian Annette Freytag, the Stoclet Palace “becomes a villa suburbana with its rear façade sculpturally modelled by bay windows, balconies and terraces.”
The Stoclet House has great integrity in its external architecture, its interior architecture and decoration, its furniture, and its garden. All the elements necessary for the expression of this value are included in the nominated property. It has not undergone any major alterations.
The buildings around the House and its urban environment have undergone few modifications. The only new building of any size in its vicinity has been designed in a way which allows for its presence in terms of the landscape integrity of the nominated property.
The architectural and decorative work of Hoffmann, and more generally the creativity of the Secession group, seemed in Stoclet’s view to perfectly define what a bourgeois family residence should be, in phase with its time in aesthetic and moral terms, and also in its modernity and functionality.
In the critical spirit of the Secession, which aimed to renew the principles of an Art Nouveau movement that was increasingly influential at the time, Hoffmann had already designed several remarkable villas and residences; he was just completing the Purkersdorf Sanatorium.
The Stoclet project, on which no restrictions would be imposed, came at just the right time: Hoffmann was able to gather around him the most outstanding creative members of the Viennese artistic movement.
He was able to advance and take further his stylistic research, moving even farther away from the initial influences of Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement, towards an exaltation of simple and geometrical forms, an austere primitive ideal and total integration of the different art forms to serve the project.
The House has not undergone any major change in its history. There have been minor alterations of a functional or technical nature, and maintenance work has been carried out to preserve its integrity.
Even though the exterior of the building is rather simple, the interior of this mansion contains artwork by artists such as Gustav Klint, copper sculptures by Franz Metzner and other stunning craftwork. Other than that a lot of expensive material was used to construct this palatial house, such as Norwegian marble and, leather and gilded material.