Belgian Building

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number

DHR's Virginia Board of Historic Resources easement

This singular architectural work was originally the Belgian Pavilion for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It was designed by the Belgian architects Victor Bourgeois and Leon Stijnen under the direction of Henri Van de Velde, a pioneer of the modernist movement. It was intended to be dismantled and rebuilt in Belgium after the fair, but the outbreak of World War II led to its donation to Virginia Union University, where it was re-erected in 1941. The choice of Richmond stemmed from the availability of a good site and the historically African American school’s need for additional facilities. Dominated by what was originally a clock tower containing a carillon, the sprawling building with its clean geometry is a monument of the 1930s International Style. Near the base of the building are sculptural panels relating to Belgium and the former Belgian Congo.

Last Updated: February 2, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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