Stephanie Van de Voorde

Stephanie Van de Voorde

Stephanie Van de Voorde holds a Tenure Track position in Architectural and Construction History at the Department of Architectural Engineering of the VUB. Breaking away with traditional perspectives in architectural history and heritage studies, her main research topics are related to 20th century building materials and building culture, as well as young heritage. She teaches architectural and construction history and the history of urban planning (Bachelor courses in Architectural Engineering) and ‘Theoretical Reflections on Monument Care’ (Master course in Architectural Engineering and in Urban Studies). In addition, she is vice-president of the Joint VUB-ULB Curriculum Council for Architectural and Civil Engineering and, as sucu, responsible for the master programme in Architectural Engineering. Stephanie is supervisor of the PhD of Linsy Raaffels (VUB-ARCH, Doctiris scholarship by Innoviris), Marylise Parein (VUB-ARCH and, Applied PhD-Innoviris), Louise Huba (VUB-ARCH, IRP research project Re-Building Brussels) and Lara Reyniers (VUB-ARCH, BAAP), as well as post-doctoral researcher Matthijs Degraeve (VUB-HOST, IRP research project Building Brussels). Other research projects she (co-)supervises are the Interdisciplinary Research Project 'Re-Building Brussels' and the EOS project 'Construction History, Above and Beyond' (as PI for the VUB, in collaboration with ULB and UGent).

Stephanie graduated as Master of Science in Civil Engineering: architecture in 2005 (UGent). Her PhD dealt with Building in Concrete in Belgium (1890-1975). Interplay of Knowledge, Experiment and Innovation (2011, UGent, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning and Department of Civil Engineering). In 2011-12, she did research on the history of architectural education in Belgium at the Flemish Architectural Institute (VAi) and Artesis University College (UAntwerpen). Since 2013, Stephanie has been affiliated with the Department of Architectural Engineering of the VUB as a post-doctoral researcher and research professor.  The research projects she conducted were related to, among other things, post-war building materials and building techniques in Brussels (Strategic Research Program, Innoviris, 2013-2016) and France (Smart French, French Ministry of Culture and Communication, 2016-2018). Stephanie is also one of the supervisors of a Living Lab-research project on the VUB student homes by Willy Van Der Meeren (Innoviris, 2017-2021). Stephanie also (co-)supervised the Visiting Fellowships and scholarships of international researchers (e.g. Bill Addis, Alison Creba, Sabine Kuban, Sara Wermiel, Joana Proi).

Stephanie co-organized the Sixth International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH, Brussels, 2018) and co-edited the proceedings ‘Building Knowledge, Constructing Histories’. Stephanie is also a founding member of the International Federation for Construction history and co-chairs the research group Construction Histories Brussels, together with Rika Devos (ULB). In relation to the field of heritage, she is a member of the editorial board of the bimonthly journal M&L. Monumenten, Landschappen en Archeologie, and an Expert Member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee 20th Century (ISC20C). Stephanie is a board member of vzw Korei and of the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies.

Supervised PhDs

  • From demolition towards preservation: a paradigm shift for building in Brussels
  • by Louise Huba
  • Reviving the circular building industry. Looking into construction, demolition and reuse from the past to the future.
  • by Lara Reyniers
  • The Brussels housing stock (1975-2000): materiality and heritage value
  • by Marylise Parein
  • Architects' houses in Brussels. Strategies for valorization.
  • by Linsy Raaffels
  • Building Brussels. Construction Entrepreneurs in a Transforming Urban Space (1830-1970)
  • by Matthijs Degraeve


PhD research

Bouwen in beton in België (1890-1975). Samenspel van kennis, experiment en innovatie

Date2005 - 2011

Reinforced concrete, both as a building material and as a building technique, is well-rooted in the history of Belgian architecture in the twentieth century. Nevertheless, a comprehensive, in-depth study on the history of the development and application of concrete in Belgium was yet to be written. The research presented in this work is a first attempt at such a study: this thesis wants to document, analyse and interpret the history of concrete construction in Belgium over the period 1890-1975 in a differentiated and multidisciplinary manner and based on a thematic/chronologic approach. The classical architectural historical perspective, focusing mainly on architects and their designs, writings and realizations, is stirred up and altered by a focus on the interface between the history of architecture and the history of construction. Apart from architects, this study also features engineers, builders, inventors, designers, consulting agencies, prefab-companies, authorities, clients, writers and professional bodies: each of these actors has, from his proper frame of reference, yet often linked with each other, contributed to the development of reinforced concrete as a building material and as a building technique. More than focusing on the material, this study engages with these actors, their intentions, knowledge and realizations, in theory and in practice, and with the interplay between them. By tracing the circles in which these actors moved, which interactions were fostered and how these relations nourished knowledge, experience and significance, a network spanning the (diffuse) borders of various disciplines and fields of research is traced. Actors, as well as accomplishments, corporations, writings, innovations, theories or developments are put in place in this network, thus mapping out the development and implementation of (knowledge) on reinforced concrete in Belgium.

The full text of the PhD (in Dutch) can be downloaded on: or requested by email.