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: https://biblio.ugent.be/publication/1213287 or requested by email.