Strategic research program - Growth Funding: Construction History

Braem building at VUB during construction © VUB archive

In 2012 the Vrije Universiteit Brussel launched the call ‘Strategic Research Program-Growth funding’ to support research groups which can become centre of excellence within their field. As such, this VUB strategic research program – growth funding (2014-2019) gives the Brussels’ Construction History Team the possibility to strengthen its current research position in the field of Construction History and to develop further knowledge on the nineteenth and twentieth century Brussels and Belgian built heritage (architecture and constructions, materials, … as well as actors and their knowledge).

The Brussels’ Construction History Team consists of professors and researchers at the architectural engineering lab (ae-lab) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Department of Building, Architecture & Town Planning (BATir) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Their joint interest in Construction History led since 2008 to a very intensive multidisciplinary collaboration, e.g. participation in research seminars, membership of PhD jury’s and common research projects. In the preparation, participation and organization of the European Summer School on Construction History (funded by the European Commission) both teams integrated completely in one working group. The further collaboration is also stimulated by the establishment of a joint English master in architectural and civil engineering (BruFacE) since the academic year 2011-2012.

Research priorities within this strategic research program are: 

(1) The development of pioneering research in relation to construction materials (building as well as finishing materials) and in relation to the technology of construction developed in Belgium but relevant for the broader international construction business (e.g. brick, cement, asbestos,…).

(2) The study of neglected actors being architects, engineers, contractors or craftsmen working as entrepreneurs, setting up their own construction firms and by doing so “traversing history anonymously”. The same is valid for the centers of production and knowledge transfer (education, regulations, publications, networks,…).

(3) To stimulate the development of an international research infrastructure for knowledge transfer and cross-fertilization.