Victor Horta (1861-1947), the Belgian architect, is generally credited with initiating the architectural style of Art Nouveau with his Tassel House in Brussels in 1893.
Although rooted in the iron architectural projects of Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-Le-Duc and the strong French tradition of stylized floral decoration, the design of the Tassel House nevertheless made a new departure with the curvilinear botanical forms of its interior iron structure, which emerge through the center of a stone facade that otherwise harmonizes with the earlier houses on either side.
His Hotel Solvay (1895-1900) and his own house (1898), both in Brussels, use iron and stone facades on a larger scale, with still more complex iron interiors, while the Aubeck House (1900 in Brussels, now demolished) relied almost entirely on stone for its surging bays, balconies, and dormers.
Though his work inspired a movement known for its fantasy and extravagance, Horta's own contribution to the urban domestic architecture of Brussels was a subtle transformation of rigid traditional surfaces into organic skins.
Horta also designed three major public buildings in Brussels: the House of the People (1896-1900, now demolished) for the Belgian Workers' Party, a building that ingeniously combined a number of functions on a small site; the department store "Innovation" (1901-03, now demolished), with an open and decorative iron-and-glass facade; and the Palace of Fine Arts (1922-28), an uncharacteristically ponderous attempt to strike a compromise between classical forms and Art Nouveau organicism.