Chair for the History and Theory of Architecture
Prof. Dr. Maarten Delbeke

The Chair is responsible for teaching and research in the history and theory of art and architecture before ca. 1850, in close concertation with the other Chairs of the gta. More in particular, we examine and test the relevance of this history in the context of a Department of Architecture, not with the aim of sustaining a narrowly defined operative view of history, nor of understanding the present merely as the result of a long history, but of complicating the understanding of architecture and its meaning, agency and legitimacy by means of an intricate reading of its past. Historical architecture inspires enthusiasm about the built environment precisely when historical distance is at once recognized and overcome in the close encounter with the various artifacts that populate our present or were present in our past. Given the multi-faceted relationship of buildings with time and history, an engagement with historical architecture seems indispensable to develop a balanced reading of the built environment, to grasp the formal and material elements that constitute architecture, and to grasp what constitutes the very domain of architecture.