Simone Guillissen-Hoa

Simone Guillissen-Hoa at her work table, circa 1946<br> © CIVA Collections Brussels
Simone Guillissen-Hoa at her work table, circa 1946
© CIVA Collections Brussels

CIVA is pleased to present the first monographic exhibition honoring the life, work, and legacy of the Chinese-born Belgian architect Simone Guillissen-Hoa (1916–96). A proponent of modernist architecture, Guillissen-Hoa was one of the first women to establish her own architecture firm in Belgium. Her career and personal life have consistently challenged the limits imposed by social conventions, gender norms, religious dogma and racial prejudices.

Her life spanned the major events of the twentieth century, from the early onset of the Chinese Revolution to the resistance in occupied Belgium and through postwar reconstruction. In the 1950s, she was a member of the Soroptimist Association, a women’s-rights advocacy organization, and in the 1970s, she became involved in the creation of the International Union of Women Architects.

The exhibition both records her architectural projects and, through a wide array of archival materials, presents her reflections on architecture, her battles and more broadly, her professional and private life. By delving into Guillissen-Hoa’s artistic circle, comprised of figures such as Léon Spilliaert, Alfred Roth, Max Bill, Enrico Castellani, Tapta, Henry and Nele van de Velde, the exhibition explores the influences and collaborations that shaped her artistic and intellectual journey.

A newly commissioned film by artists Eva Giolo and Aglaia Konrad is central to the exhibition, showcasing several of Guillissen-Hoa’s buildings and the utilization, adaptation, and translation of modernist forms and concepts.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024Sunday, September 22, 2024
23.04.2024 - 19:00
CIVA, Rue de l'Ermitage 55, 1050 Brussels
Silvia Franceschini, Yaron Pesztat
Pauline Clarot

With works by: Max Bill, Enrico Castellani, Pierre Cordier, Jacques Dupuis, Eva Giolo and Aglaia Konrad, Mayou Iserentant, Alfred Roth, Josine Souweine, Léon Spilliaert, and Tapta.

An extensive public program on feminism and architecture is being developed in collaboration with Apolline Vranken (researcher in residence at CIVA, 2023–24). With talks by Véronique Boone, Beatriz Colomina, Bianca Felicori, Florencia Fernández Cardoso, Jane Hall, Sol Pérez Martínez, Lucía C. Pérez Moreno, Léa-Catherine Szacka and many more. 

The exhibition marks the occasion of the donation of the Fonds Simone Guillissen-Hoa to CIVA Collections, Brussels.

© Film still by Eva Giolo & Aglaia Konrad, Simone, 2024
Simone Guillissen-Hoa House La Quinta, Baisy-Thy Undated © CIVA Collections, Brussels
Tapta Textile upholstery for Simone Guillissen-Hoa’s Diamond chairs (Harry Bertoia, 1952) 1979 © Collection Jean-Pierre Hoa
Simone Guillissen-Hoa, Jacques Dupuis Elevation project for jewellery De Greef © CIVA Collections, Brussels
Simone Guillissen-Hoa Ca. 1940 © Collection Jean-Pierre Hoa
Alfred Roth Composition 1935 dedicated to Simone Guillissen-Hoa 1935 © Collection Jean-Pierre Hoa
© Filip Dujardin
© Filip Dujardin
© Filip Dujardin
Enrico Castellani Superficie Bianca 1996 © Filip Dujardin