Chancery for website small

Photo by Eric F. Rubas


The surroundings

Avenue Molière was created in 1902 as part of the urbanization plan for the Berkendael plain, by the surveyor, César Boon, on the initiative of the financier and promoter, Georges Brugmann (1829-1900). Almost 2 kilometers long, it extends over the Brussels communes of Forest, Ixelles, and Uccle. The avenue follows a curved and counter-curved layout, punctuated by the squares or plazas of Constantin Meunier and Gui d’Arezzo. Avenue Molière is certainly one of Brussels’ most elegant and architecturally coherent arteries of the early 20th century. Its prestige has not diminished, being the location of mansions and buildings designed by Belgium’s greatest architects of the previous century.

The building

As eclecticism was gaining popularity in Brussels in the early 20th century, the Embassy Chancery was built in 1911 in the eclectic style following the plans of the renowned architect, Fernand Symons, on a 650-square meter lot. It was designed as the family residence of the engineer, Marcel Monnoyer. The property was later sold in 1919 to an industrialist named Alfred VERCOUTERE.

In 1997, the Philippine Embassy leased the property to serve as the chancery before it was purchased by the Philippine Government in 2008. An extensive renovation followed from 2009 to 2010. The architect of the renovations, Grégoire Wuillaume, made sure that all the heritage elements were preserved while adapting the building to the Embassy’s specifications.

The facade

The original 1911 façade has been preserved to this day. The ground floor walls are built with blue stone while the rest of the upper floor walls are clad in white stone. French windows can be visibly seen on the upper floors, including a bay window with ornate carvings.


The interior decoration reflects the eclectic style of mixing stylistic references, with a few modern touches to reflect its current nature as an Embassy.
Entering through the gates and into an exterior hallway that could accommodate light vehicles, glass doors open into the grand staircase of the Chancery. The staircase is illuminated by a spectacular art nouveau glass ceiling.

The ground floor, which was originally dedicated to domestic tasks, has been repurposed into the Embassy’s consular section. It has been divided into reception areas for consular clients and workspaces for back-room operations.
Going up the staircase to the first floor (or second floor in non-European parlance), are the visitor reception areas, which have kept the building interior’s distinctive eclectic style. A French-style living room, informally known as the Embassy’s Green Room, serves as a reception area for the Embassy’s guests. It is adorned with decorated paneling and painted medallions in the corners of the ceilings. The room also features a marble fireplace in the Rococo Revival style playing on the scrolled forms.
Beside the Green Room is the Library with a mezzanine. A fireplace decorated with earthenware completes the interior decor. The Library, where a bust of Dr. José Rizal is displayed, is used as venue for small meetings.

The original dining room of the building has been renamed the Hall of the Presidents (Bulwagan ng mga Pangulo), and serves as a multi-purpose space where the Embassy conducts various kinds of events and meetings. It is separated from the hall by an imposing Flemish Neo-Renaissance stained glass window. In the past, it concealed a small inner courtyard, which has now been replaced by the elevator. The initials, “AV,” in the centre of the stained glass window suggest that it was incorporated by one of the building’s previous owners, Alfred Vercoutere, after 1919 when he bought the house. It is signed J. Vosch 1912, most certainly Julien Vosch, a Belgian master glassmaker born in Tilff in 1885 who later settled down in France after the First World War. Equally eclectic is the dining room, which bears the marks of the keen fascination for the Flemish Renaissance; these includes the imposing fireplace adorned with winged griffins, wooden paneling, painted plaster box ceiling, and a grand chandelier.

The upper floors, which used to serve as bedrooms, have since been repurposed into modern office spaces. The Ambassador holds office in the second floor in a room overlooking the garden. The other former bedrooms in the house have likewise been converted into modern office spaces.

The large garden hosts another bust of Dr. José Rizal and the Philippine flag mast. It has an expansive lawn that is also used for the Embassy’s many events.