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Theory and History

Research in Theory and History of Architecture and Urban Planning takes place in changing collaborations. There is no strict division between the researchers on architecture theory and researchers doing history of architecture. Research teams are formed for each project. Research topics that have been developed in depth within this domain range from the historiography of sixteenth-century architecture in Italy to the (post-)colonial urban history of Central Africa or to the critical reflections on the changing stakes in designing (semi-)public buildings:

  • The history of Belgian 20th century architecture and urbanism with a particular interest in the architecture and dwelling culture of the fifties and sixties, the architecture of the thirties, and the architecture of the Belgian world exhibitions (Expo 58, among others).
  • Post-war architectural criticism, in particular the oeuvre of Geert Bekaert.
  • 20th century history of architecture and urban history as well as heritage issues in a (post) colonial context, with special attention for Central Africa and Belgian Congo.
  • The evolution of the landscape in Flanders in the 20th Century, with a particular interest in the representation and formulation of a theory of the landscape and in the impact of public infrastructure on the significance and perception of landscape and city.
  • The architectural programme, architectural typologies, and architectural design of semi-public buildings such as cultural buildings (theatres, museums … ) and schools.
  • The interaction between architecture and the arts, such as art in public space, exhibiting architecture or the use of architectural formats in the visual arts.
  • The architectural theory and historiography of architecture of the 16th up to the 18th century in the Netherlands, Italy and Central Europe, in particular the work of Piranesi, inaugural rituals of cultual buildings in the 17th and 18th century, e.a.
  • Theory of the city, urban culture and city representation.

The main research activity consists of doctoral research and the preparation of publications and exhibitions. Diverse projects by Labo A and Labo S valorize the research in history and theory through policy oriented and projects addressing a wider audience.