The restoration of the Villa Empain, whose excellence has been awarded the Europa Nostra prize, was masterfully conducted by Diane Hennebert, director of the Boghossian Foundation from 2006 to 2015.
The Villa Empain offers the history of an exceptional building, constructed in a period when architecture was the pride of Brussel. But with time and its unsettled fate, the house had degraded to a shadow of what it had been during a few decades.
The fact of the matter is that, in order to survive, any major architectural heritage item needs love, respect and its recognition as a complete work of art. In the field of architectural heritage, every restoration project is unique and requires a particular care which begins with the discovery of the place, its history and condition.
In the case of the Villa Empain, acquired in 2006 by the Boghossian Foundation, on the recommendation of architect Philippe De Bloos the first researches which allowed the restoration to be launched were based on a report produced in 1995 by architect Stéphane Dusquesne of the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven. This study includes historical research and a very complete summary and pictures of the building before its partial destruction in the early 2000s. A fortunate coincidence made Stéphane Duquesne the person in charge of the file at the Direction of Monuments and Sites of the Brussels-Capital Region. This first phase was also based on the available historical elements: early documents, plans, images, artifacts, letters and testimonies.