Joseph Diongre is a gifted architect from childhood, who explored all facets of his art, much like the greatest artists who tried, without restrictions and with varying degrees of success, all possible expressions.
He entered the Royal Academy in Brussels at the age of 12, and graduated as an architect after a few internships in renowned workshops in Belgium, France and Holland.
In 1908, at the age of 24, he designed, alone, his first house, 11 rue Léopold Courouble in Schaerbeek, which can still be seen.
It’s not what he did best.
In the pre-war years, young Diongre, despite the emergence of Art Nouveau, designed houses in a very academic style in which some unexpected forms already emerged.
He built more than 25 homes in 10 years!
A very academic and eclectic style for his first achievements.
After the 1918 armistice, like many other architects, he was called to rebuild cities, and worked on a large number of projects for new towns and social housing.
The municipality of Molenbeek made him its appointed architect. A street and a neighborhood bear his name. His style changed radically, he first created housings with a regional character, reminiscent of seaside houses.
Then he turned around, moving towards a more rigorous style, drawing shapes that will be found in many of his creations, with balconies or oriel in spur and creative masonry work. Dubrucq town in Molenbeek, buildings on rue de Bosnie, and Léopold Combaz in St Gilles bear witness to this.
Built in 1927, the astonishing Withuis (left) is his most remarquable example. His signature house! The same year, not far from there, rue Firmin Lecharlier, he designed this astonishing house, vintage 1927.
The 1930s were those of the last turn towards a more refined modernism. He designed his most emblematic monumental buildings, which are the St-Jean Baptiste Church (1931), and after two competitions, the townhall of Woluwe-St-Lambert (1938) and the following year the Radio House (Flagey).
What an artistic path between 1908 and 1939!
From left to right: Woluwe-St-Lambert municipal hall, St-Jean Baptiste church in Molenbeek, Maison de la Radio (Flagey) in Ixelles
His evolution from pure academicism to hard modernism is also reflected in his signatures.