Today the Sanatorium Joseph Lemaire, located 19 kilometres to the
south of Brussels, is in a poor state of disrepair as it awaits
conversion into a home of rest with service flats. Covering a total of
33 hectares, the complex has stood empty since 1987. Fifty years
earlier, in 1937, the sanatorium opened amid great interest, even
internationally. It was an imposing hospital for tuberculosis patients
and was advanced and luxurious for its time, with rooms furnished in a
modern style, treatment terraces, a reception room, a spacious entrance
hall with a tower above it, and a garden park in the French manner.
Linoleum covered the walls for reasons of hygiene, and the windows were
left open as much as possible so that fresh air could always circulate
through the building. Many architecture fans and experts consider the
sanatorium to be a masterwork of modernism. It was built by Maxime
Brunfaut to a commission from the socialist insurance company La
Prévoyance Sociale, and it was named after the first director.