Aegidium

THE ABANDONED THEATER IN BELGIUM


The Aegidium theater is a Brussels building that was erected in 1905 to a design by Guillaume Segers. Behind its austere façade there is a wealth of interior styles.

The facade is built in Neoclassical style. Inside I found an interior where Art Nouveau and Art Deco elements merge. For example the foyer downstairs has Art Nouveau paneling with mirrors and figurative ceramic tiles from Helman. There is also a café, a smoking room and a winter garden. The monumental stairwell with oval skylight leads to the two large rooms located on the first floor. Firstly the spectacular Neo-Moorish style theater. Secondly, the smaller polygonal ballroom in the more common Louis XV style.

Diamant Palace

Construction started in 1905 and was completed in December 1906. Owner Léon Bejay-Dejonghe had bought a city block and found space in the middle for a banquet hall complex. Eventually it became a center of Brussels nightlife. It was known as ‘Egidium’, named after the patron saint of the municipality, Gillis. In 1913, he had the Moorish room decorated as a cinema and changed the name to ‘Diamant Palace’. After the death of Bejay-Dejonghe, Fernand Dierckx bought the building and turned it into a dance venue under the name ‘Panthéon Palace’.

Renovations

Priest G. Simons acquired the building in 1929 and had a renovation carried out by architect Léon Denis. Works included a new dining room and projection booth. It became a meeting place for the local population, where all kinds of parochial and social activities took place. In fact he renamed it again to ‘Aegidium’. The building was renovated in 1933 and it was given a new purpose again. It became a movie theater. For this reason the conference room was divided in two by a concrete ceiling in 1956. In 1979 the building underwent a transformation into a community centre. The building was abandoned in 1985. I visited the theater in 2020 just before the reconverting took place.

Built 1905
Abandoned 1985
Reconverted 2020
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