The Brussels' Construction History Team explicitly profiles itself on nineteenth and twentieth century Construction History and aims to strengthen its current research position, to develop an international comparative perspective and to build a long term perspective. This research profile and these research goals are justified by the existing national and international historiography and knowledge (dominant by pre-1850 studies), the existing expertise of the Brussels' Construction History Team and the richness and international importance of the nineteenth and twentieth Brussels' and Belgian construction heritage.
The main research perspectives for the coming 5 years are:
In relation to the research questions:
(1) In the framework of the first international research line on 'history of structural design' we will expand the 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). Priority will be given to the development of international comparative research on topics which are explored on a national level (e.g. expertise on iron, steel, concrete) to deliver a profound international scientific synthesis, which is still lacking today. The second priority is the expansion of the studied period in the twentieth century: with the study of post-war materials and techniques a nearly unexplored time period will be touched.
(2) Placing the study of the nineteenth and twentieth century building practices in Belgium in a comparative perspective links up with the second international research line. Priority will be given to 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).
In relation to the research infrastructure:
(3) The aim is to develop an international research infrastructure for knowledge transfer and cross-fertilization, which among others can stimulate international valorization and positioning of the Brussels' Construction History Team. Therefore there is a need to develop a European Construction History PhD-network. Also, preparing/proposing the organization of the Sixth International Conference on Construction History in Brussels in 2018 will reinforce the international position of the Brussels Team. (info: in the latest 2012 Paris' CH Conference 389 research papers were presented by scholars coming out of 34 countries). These parallel research activities can enhance a network for long term collaboration with international partners.