Stadhuis Facade Opposite Sint-Pieterskerk Hôtel de Ville; City Hall
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Van Vorst, Sulpicius, d. 1439; Keldermans, Jan II, d. 1445; De Layens, Mathieu, d. 1494
This, Louvain’s second Town Hall, sits on the Great Market Square (Grote Markt), opposite Saint Peter’s Church (Sint-Pieterskerk). Its construction began in 1439 and was overseen by a series of individuals who served as the city’s architect; this period overlapped the construction of Saint Peter’ Church. Under the direction of Mathieu de Layens (beginning ca. 1448), plans were modified to achieve the flamboyant Gothic silhouette with six slender turrets (one at each corner and two on the roof ridge), whose stone is filigreed with carving. De Layens’ plans also included the balustrade all around the building. The Town Hall is built with three floors. Between the windows and on the turrets are carved niches that hold figures. In all, there are 236 statues. These were only completed in 1850. Each floor has figures representing different groups of people important to the history of Louvain. Two rows at the ground level depict artists, scholars and distinguished citizens of the city; the first floor has figures symbolizing city privileges and the patron saints of Louvain’s parishes; the second (uppermost) floor has figures representing the Counts of Louvain and the Dukes of Brabant. Biblical figures are populate the turrets as well as the base of the niches. The Town Hall has undergone three restorations since the 19th C. The last, completed in 1983, repaired damage inflicted during the second World War when a bomb scraped the facade.
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