Theory and History of Architecture

The research in the field of Theory and History of Architecture and Urban Planning is executed individually and in varying research teams. There is no strict division between architectural theory and the history of architecture: the research teams are formed by project. The research topics are very diverse. Current PhDs and research projects relate to the history of sixteenth-century architecture in Italy, to the 19th-century architecture of the Ghent city architect and university professor Louis Roelandt, the post-colonial city history in Central Africa, and the typology of semipublics buildings…

Throughout the years, within the research group, special competence has been acquired in the fields of:

  • The history of Belgian 20th-century architecture and construction, especially the residential culture of the fifties and the 60s, the architecture of the 30s, and Belgian world exhibitions (including Expo 58).
  • The post-war architectural criticism in Belgium, with emphasis on the writings of Geert Bekaert. The Department has published Bekaert’s collected essays, and also keeps the Bekaert archive. 
  • 20th century architecture and city history and heritage issues in a (post) colonial context, with special attention for Central Africa and Belgian Congo.
  • The evolution of city and landscape in Flanders in the 20th century, with particular interest in the representation of the city and landscape, and for the impact of public infrastructure on the representation and perception of landscape and city.
  • The typology and architectural design of semi-public buildings, especially such as cultural buildings (theaters, museums ...) and schools.
  • The interaction between architecture and the arts. The research, in the past mainly devoted to museum architecture, is gaining a significant new impetus through the foundation of the Arts and Architecture Study Center (STArK), housed in the Vandenhove Pavilion, that will host and valorize  the art collection of Charles Vandenhove.
  • The architectural theory and the historiography of architecture from the 16th to the 18th century in the Netherlands, Italy and Central Europe, with projects such as the study of the prints of G. Piranesi, Baroque stairs in Naples, et al.

In addition to the doctoral research, the main research activity consists in preparing publications and exhibitions. The historical and theoretical research expertise is valued in the form of policy-supporting or public-oriented applications in Labo A and Labo S.