The building, housing the department, dates back to 1889. It was designed by architect Adolphe Pauli (1820-1895), professor at the ‘Ecoles Spéciales du Génie Civil et des Arts et Manufactures’, the then education of engineers in Ghent. He was a disciple of architect Louis Roelandt, the designer of the university’s great hall in the Volderstraat.
Because of the dire need for space at that time, one was in search of a new building for the Faculty of Science and the study programme in engineering. One common building was opted for, the ‘Institut des Sciences’, in which the Sciences (chemistry, physics, mineralogy, geology and paleontology) were housed with an entrance along the Rozier. The study programme in engineering was housed in the same building, be it with an entrance along the Plateaustraat. This study programme, which was in fact organised by the Ministry of Public Works, was conceived as a school with an own internal regime after the example of the French Ecole Polytechnique, consisting of a Preparatory Department and Special Schools. Here, the exercises and the specific lectures typical of the course took place. The more general courses were taught at the neighbouring Sciences.
The building was established on the location of the former Batavia district, an area with numerous dead-end alleys having a bad reputation. As such, urban renewal projects could be realised at the same time. At that time, it concerned a very progressive building with particular attention for ventilation and heating and educational facilities: laboratories, didactic museums and auditoriums fit for the demonstration of scientific tests.
A lot of changes have taken place ever since. Part of the building is currently being used by the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy and most departments of the Engineering Faculty have been housed elsewhere. However, the Department of Architecture & Urban Planning has stayed in the middle of its research area, being the city. Meanwhile, the growing department occupies a considerable part of the building along the Plateaustraat, among which the entire attic.