Christina Pech

2017 Visiting Research Fellow

Fellows Art Studies and Archaeology (SKAR) Historical Research into Urban Transformation Processes (HOST)
  • Current position 2017 Visiting Research Fellow
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Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm / Interrelation between architecture and the sciences in the early modern period / between May 2017 - October 2017

Christina Pech is an architectural historian (MA in art history, PhD in architectural history) currently teaching at the School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm and pursuing research at the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design (ArkDes). Her main research as well as teaching focus rests on 20th-century architecture with a specialisation in historiography. The project suggested for the fellowship in Brussels is a conscious expansion of her previous work and at the same time, an embarking on a partly new research orientation.

The overall aim of the project is to study the interrelation between architecture and the sciences in the early modern period (mainly but not exclusively late 17th c. - mid 18th c.). A working hypothesis concerns the reciprocity between the practice of science and spatial design; that not only was architecture under the influence of merely functional circumstances but that it also contributed to the definition and the formation of the scientific field. A point of departure is the temporal simultaneity of the transformations that took place within the different disciplines involved during this time frame, such as the significant epistemological changes that saw a parallel in the inclination for natural sciences and mechanics in contemporary architectural theory. The project goes beyond the mere recognition of simultaneous events and actions; its aim is to identify some tangible points of migration between the disciplines.

The study will explore the concrete implications of the spatial organization of science through a series of case studies brought from different scientific disciplines.  

The ambition with a BCUS fellowship is to expand the analysis to an urban perspective, based on the suggestion that the city and its culture as such, and an extended understanding of an urban condition, is/was a decisive factor for the advent of specific localities of science as well as the subsequent establishment of certain building typologies (observatories, anatomical theatres, museums, specialist laboratories to name a few). Mapping and network-based methods of analysis will be adopted to trace those urban factors and circumstances (social, professional, artistic, material, economic, institutional, etc.) active in the formation of the localities, buildings and complexes in question.

 The research will be carried out in close collaboration with the research units SKAR and HOST.