SUYS, Tilman-François
(b. 1783, Ostend, d. 1864, Wingene)

Biography

Belgian architect who also worked in the Netherlands. He completed his architectural education in Paris, where he studied under Charles Percier and won the Prix de Rome in 1812. During his stay in Rome he became a protégé of King William I of the Netherlands. In 1817 he settled in Amsterdam and worked as an architect for the Dutch Crown. In this period his style shows the marks of the Empire style created for Napoleon by his teacher Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine.

From 1825 onwards, Suys was employed on a series of royal commissions in Brussels. Important creations in Brussels include the great conservatory of the Botanical Garden of Brussels, which is noted for its innovative use of iron and glass construction, and the Royal Palace.

After the Belgian Revolution which established Belgium's independence from the Netherlands, Suys remained in Brussels. He devoted himself mainly to the restoration of the new nation's historic monuments. Some of these projects, especially his Gothic Revival restorations, were not historically accurate, and were later harshly criticized. Suys was also engaged in urban-scale projects, notably the project for the Leopold Quarter (Quartier Léopold), commissioned to him in the 1830s and carried out in the following years.

Suys continued to carry out commissions in the Netherlands after the revolution such as the Roman Catholic, Mozes and Aaron Church in Amsterdam built between 1831 and 1847.

From 1835 to 1861 Suys was a professor at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where he taught almost every important Belgian architect of the younger generation. Through his teaching he deeply influenced later Belgian architecture in both the Neoclassical and the eclectic or revivalist styles.

Tilman-François Suys was the father and teacher of Léon-Pierre Suys who would also play an important role as an architect and urban planner in 19th-century Belgium.