PhD Fellowship in the Pioneering Practices

Catholic University of Leuven


The PhD-fellow will work in the research context of the research group Architectural Cultures of the Recent Past (ARP) at the Department of Architecture ( and the Masters Environment Structural Contingencies at the Faculty of Architecture ( The Department of Architecture engages in research on architecture, interior architecture, urbanism and spatial planning, conducted at the Faculty of Engineering Science (Leuven) and the Faculty of Architecture (Brussels and Ghent campuses). The Department is an international centre of expertise in these domains and has about 150 (international) doctoral students.


The fellowship for which funding is available aims to develop research on several exceptional buildings from the 1960s and ‘70s that take on a central role in the urban fabric, of which some are currently derelict or in physical decay. There is an acute lack of insights to guide their status as monuments, the processes of reconversion facing the future as well as the high demands for restoration. This research aims to generate more knowledge on these ‘pioneering buildings’, developing specific methods that combine design and practice-based expertise with theoretical research. Architects as Juliaan Lampens, Paul Felix, Jan Tange, Paul Meekels and Lode Wouters were designers/builders rather than being theoretically engaged, passing on their ideologies, skills and knowledge through their practices and teaching. This observation defines the research field. Firstly, case study analysis compare archival research with its (un)built manifestation. Secondly, this research builds up a historiography and contextualisation of these ‘pioneering practices’ and their international relations, creating an overarching narrative.

The fellowship situates itself at the crossroads between architectural theory and practice. It has both a historiographical and an operative aim. The successful applicant will write a PhD-dissertation within the overarching theme the Practice of Architectural Research ( The project is chaired by Prof. dr. Caroline Voet and Prof. dr. Jo Van Den Berghe, both KU Leuven Department of Architecture.


We are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications: 

•    The motivation to pursue creative work bridging architectural practice and theory;

•    An explicit interest in developing the following research question: how and why were changes in the concepts of structure/space set in motion, shaped and modified in the 1960s and 70s in specific architectural practices in Flanders. Are they ‘pioneering’ within an international framework?

•    A master diploma (or equivalent) in Architecture and academic distinction.

•    Minimum two years of experience in architectural practice.

•    Experience with archival research is a plus. 

•    The ability to present research results at international conferences, and to publish in peer-reviewed journals. 

•    The ability to play an active, collaborative role in the research group ARP (including its seminars and conferences), as well as the Master environment Structural Contingencies. 

•    An excellent command of Dutch (for the archival work, interviews, …) as well as English (the PhD will be written in English).


We offer a fulltime (100%) PhD scholarship for 1 year (extendable up to 4 years in total after a positive evaluation). As a doctoral fellow, you will follow the doctoral programme in Architecture, at the Faculty of Architecture. The diploma ‘Doctor of Architecture’ will be offered when the PhD requirements are successfully fulfilled.

The successful candidate will be required to carry out minor educational responsibilities and provide research assistance to the supervisors. S/he will become part of a dynamic and young group of scholars examining architectural design and its tools and methods in relation to their context, motivations and conceptual discourses during the course of the twentieth century (1900-…) and more specifically the period 1960s and 70s.

The working language is Dutch and English. The recipient of the fellowship is expected to live in Belgium (vicinity of Leuven, Antwerp, Ghent) and to work from the office in Ghent (Faculty of Architecture, Sint-Lucas Campus:


For further information, you can contact Prof. dr. Caroline Voet at

Enthusiastic and cooperative persons meeting the criteria are kindly invited to apply online. Include a motivation letter, a CV, a portfolio of relevant writings and architectural work (from your education and/or professional career), the names of two referees whom we might approach prior to appointment, and a sample piece of writing not exceeding 12.000 words (e.g. an MA thesis chapter). The deadline for applications is June 25. We will hold interviews with selected candidates soon thereafter. 

Solliciteren voor deze vacature kan tot en met 25/06/2020 via onze
KU Leuven wil een omgeving creëren waarin alle talenten maximaal tot ontplooiing kunnen komen, ongeacht gender, leeftijd, culturele herkomst, nationaliteit of functiebeperking. Hebt u vragen in verband met toegankelijkheid of ondersteuningsmogelijkheden, dan kan u ons contacteren via
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Gent
  • Apply before: June 25, 2020
  • Tags: Architectuur

In your application, please refer to