Let’s talk architecture and let's talk Belgium. What do these two things have in common? Well, you probably need no introduction of Belgium being a land of architectural wonder, with several shifts in design throughout its history creating a rich cross-section of European heritage and design. From Art Nouveau to modernism, the country is known for nailing its architecture.
Except we’re talking the other side of the coin—”Ugly Belgian Houses”—an enigmatic, humorous and eccentric project run by Hannes Coudenys. The project is dedicated entirely to the uglier the better buildings, dwellings, and all kinds of roofs over one’s head.
With 139k Instagram followers, “Ugly Belgian Houses” follows the motto which reads “Better to be ugly than to be boring,” and you can totally see why. But still, don’t try this at home, everyone!
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To find out more about “Ugly Belgian Houses” and how it evolved since we last featured the project a year ago, Bored Panda talked to its creator Hannes Coudenys. Hannes is a media personality with many projects, from owning Hurae creative digital studio to running “Ugly Belgian Houses” and “Like My Ride,” to vlogging on YouTube.
Hannes told us that “Ugly Belgian Houses” has amazingly evolved throughout the year, amassing 139k followers. “I have been visiting a lot of the houses and had some really nice conversations.”
“Meanwhile I am working on a second edition of the book, so I have to call all the owners again,” Hannes said and added “I’ve just had a call with two people who hate me and don’t want their house in my book. I can understand that,” he smiled.
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When asked why “Ugly Belgian Houses” has gained almost a cult following online, Hannes believes it comes down to “The fact that we all have a certain opinion on what makes a house beautiful. Or ugly. And the fact that these opinions are only opinions.”
The author added that it seems like a lot of Belgians agree that “we have a lot of ugly Belgian houses.”
When asked about the slogan “Better to be ugly than to be boring,” which greets users on the project's Instagram page, Hannes said that “In Belgium, you have a lot of suburbs and housing projects that all look the same and are in fact very boring.” He added: “Something you see in Holland as well. I prefer ugly than these boring creatures.”
Hannes would describe a typical ugly Belgian house as something with “its own quirky uniqueness; A special roof, a special stone, a special decoration, we want to express ourselves via our house.”
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Note: this post originally had 87 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.