Ugly Belgian Houses

Ever since he was a child, Hannes Coudenys had been annoyed by the “visual chaos” around him. On the road from home to his school in Bruges, he found a mishmash of architectural styles – haciendas, villas, farm-style houses, all mixed up with boxy malls and carpet shops. One day, as an adult, still exasperated, he took a photo of a house that was split into two jarringly different styles: a grey urban semi whose other half was a jaunty brick cottage. He put the photo online with the title “ugly Belgian houses” and an internet trend was born. Ugly Belgian Houses became a blog, then a book. Last month, a decade since posting that first photo, a second edition came out: More Ugly Belgian Houses. Coudenys, who has no architectural training, said he was just responding to the “chaos also known as Belgium. Because we are such a small country it is very visible how much chaos there is”.

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