UGC-de Brouckere

Place de Brouckere 38,
Brussels 1000

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UGC-de Brouckere

Originally on this site was the Cinema des Princes which was demolished in 1932 and the new Eldorado Cinema was built. This giant theatre was one of the biggest in Belgium ever, seating 2,705, and opened in 1933. Designed by architect Marcel Chabot, the single screen auditorium was completly constructed with re-enforced concrete (3,000 m3 of it), which allowed for two big balconies.

The 22,000 m3 auditorium was lit by 360 lamps in three tints.

It featured many modern and luxurious features such as elevators and air conditioning, 90,000 m3 per hour was pumped into the hall.

The screen (Magnoscopique) measured 10.40 x 8.50m (34 x 28 ft). All the electricity was wired by 14km of tubing and 43km of wires. The projection booth was fitted with Ernemann projectors and Western Electric provided the sound.

The Art Deco style auditorium was inspired by African art and has decorative panels on the side-walls which were designed by C. Rodriguez with reliefs by Wolfe and Van Neste. In 1938 the facade and foyer were re-constructed to the designs of architects Leon Stynen and R. Grosemans. The foyer was in the International Modern style with cubist decorative panels by Van Vlassalaer.

In 1974 the auditorium was sub-divided into six-screens, with another two added in 1978. The upper part of the main original auditorium survives almost intact as the ‘Grand Salle Eldorado’. Seating here incorporates the two former balconies, the lower one now extended forward towards the former proscenium.

French exhibition giant UGC acquired the historic theatre in 1982 and renamed it UGC de Brouckere. It was restored and reopened in 1992 with a further four screens added in the adjacent building next door which originally had been the Scala Cinema. I recent years a screen has been built on the roof of the building, giving the entire cinema complex a total of 13 screens.

Contributed by Roloff, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

HowardBHaas on August 19, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Exterior photos:
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caption to this exterior photo states apparently where former Scala cinema was:
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Main auditorium photos:
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In 2001, I saw a movie in the main historic auditorium, noting that it had 650 seats. If the original auditorium was 3000 seats, then is something missing? The original orchestra level or a balcony level?

And, what did the original lobby look like?

The theater was built 1933.

HowardBHaas on December 2, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Thanks to Ken Roe for amending the Intro to better describe the interior changes. My notes from 2001 indicate a balcony closed, but open when the cinema was full, in the ornate historic Eldorado auditorium. So, the current Eldorado probably consists of the 2 former balconies with people sitting in the former 1st balcony, and sometimes in the upper balcony.

I estimated the screen at 45 feet feet wide. No curtain was used.
I saw an Art Deco sunburst pattern on the ceiling.
A really fun place to see a movie!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 20, 2007 at 9:13 am

A vintage postcard view from 1967, night view of the Eldorado Cinema, with its original facade. Also the adjacent Scala Cinema:

HowardBHaas on June 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Fantastic recent photo by Roloff of auditorium facing huge movie screen:
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HowardBHaas on July 4, 2008 at 8:14 pm

More photos by Roloff:
Panorama towards auditorium front:
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Sunburst on ceiling: View link

Right side wall with decorative panels:
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Towards balcony:
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CSWalczak on June 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm

This B&W photo shows the auditorium before the installation of the large screen in front of the proscenium.

Buffer on January 27, 2014 at 10:27 am

The restoration and expansion in 1992 was supervised by architect Alberto Cattani

mvhl on June 24, 2018 at 2:49 pm

UGC De Brouckère has now 13 screens : 8 from Eldorado + 4 from Scala + 1 added after 1992 on top of the complex.

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