Stephanie Van de Voorde

Stephanie Van de Voorde

Stephanie Van de Voorde (°1981) graduated in 2005 as a civil engineer-architect at Ghent University (Belgium). In 2005-2011, she was a research assistant in the field of architectural and construction history at Ghent University (Department of Architecture and Urban Planning and Department of Civil Engineering). Her PhD dealt with Building in Concrete in Belgium (1890-1975). Interplay of Knowledge, Experiment and Innovation (Ghent University, 2011). In 2011-12, she focused on the history of architectural education in Belgium, with research projects at the Flemish Centre for Architectural Archives and at Artesis University College in Antwerp. From 2013 onwards, Stephanie started to work as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Architectural Engineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, joining the research team Construction HistorieS Brussels (CHsB). Within the Strategic Research Program: Brussels Retrofit XL funded by Innoviris (project RetroCo, 2013-2016), Stephanie focused on post-war construction materials and building techniques. Since 2016, Stephanie holds a 0.1 ZAP research position. From 2016 onwards, she is part of the Strategic research programs - Growth Funding: Construction History, doing research on various topics related to construction history, such as building actors and twentieth century building materials. In 2017-2018, Stephanie collaborates with colleagues from 6 French ENSA schools for architecture, in the research project Smart French. Le logement collectif du second XXe siècle, funded by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Stephanie is also one of the supervisors of a Living Lab-research project on the VUB student homes (funded by Innoviris, 2017-2020).

Stephanie is a member of the Construction History Society, Docomomo, Icomos and the Association Francophone de l'Histoire de la Construction. She is a member of the editorial board of the bimonthly journal M&L. Monumenten, Landschappen en Archeologie. She is involved in the organisation of the 10th SAHC conference (Leuven, 2016) and the 6th International Conference on Construction History (Brussels, 2018). Stephanie is an Expert Member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee 20th Century (ISC20C).

Stephanie is co-supervisor of the PhD of Linsy Raaffels (VUB, Doctiris scholarship by Innoviris) and Matthijs Degraeve (VUB, IRP research project Building Brussels)


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.