Research group Architecture, Culture and Modernity

The main focus of this research group is the multiple ways architecture absorbed and reflected upon the conditions of modernity, including the rise of a mass society, new forms of (democratic) government systems, and concomitant issues of subject-formation, emancipation and citizens' empowerment.  

The group collaborates closely with the Jaap Bakema Study Centre and Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, which holds the national archive of architecture and urbanism. This collaboration leads to a natural interest in questions of museology, in particular the way research and archives are connected and result in public presentations such as the phenomenon of the architecture exhibition. The group hosts a special PhD-programme 'Architecture and Democracy', together with the Jaap Bakema Study Centre and Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Research interests:

  • Long lines of developments of the larger modern era, with an emphasis on the twentieth century, and how they continue to impact the way we think, use and produce buildings and cities;
  • Architecture discourse, its media and disciplinary institutions;  
  • How architecture embodies a multitude of traditions and epistemologies, through its development along various historical and geographical vectors;
  • An understanding of architecture as embedded, cross- and transcultural;
  • An interest in the ways architecture operates within a multitude of societal forces;
  • The study of historical case studies as precedents and paradigms of operative architectural knowledge.
  • The historical-theoretical dimensions of the research and the specific practice of discourse analysis brings a strong interest in archival and media studies and their methodologies, including the new field of digital humanities. 

Subjects and themes:

  • Revisions of the modern (the historical body of knowledge of the architecture discipline): projects, realizations and conjectures, texts and methods;
  • Architecture of the welfare state, the neo-liberal condition and its contestations;
  • Modern formations of domesticity and housing policies;
  • Other architecture histories, inclusive histories;
  • Roles of the architect: participation, agencies, new forms of practice;
  • Design knowledge production and its disseminations, globally and locally.

Contact Dirk van den Heuvel

Dr. Jorge Mejia Hernandez