Ir. Arch. Koen Verswijver is involved in research and dissemination activities at VUB Architectural Engineering.
Iron and steel experiments and innovations in Belgium during the 19th century
Canonical history of architecture often associates cast iron, wrought iron and steel with large spans, industrial buildings or new typologies that originated after the industrial revolution. Indeed, cultural, territorial and technical changes were until the Art Nouveau an ideal breeding ground for iron to flourish in non-civil architecture. But how did the - often ephemeral - character of iron and steel take shape to come up to technical, socio-economical and formal expectations in architecture? This research combines three fields of research - architectural history and historiography and construction history - to answer this question. The interdisciplinary approach is present in the analysis of various types of sources: buildings, architect's and contractor's oeuvres, structural and technical developments, education models, patents, etc.