• 22 March 2017
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Seminar Room, Paul Mellon Centre

Black and white drawing looking through arch The notion that buildings are foremost objects to be experienced, and that the intended experience of buildings should guide their design, became a key concept in the period 1750-1815. At that time, Paris and London, the main centres of cultural debates, went through major urban and architectural developments. In my research project, entitled ‘Experience and Design: The Emergence of Architectural Experience in Paris and London, 1750-1815’, I argue that architectural experience emerged there as a crucial new element. The project examines how the relationship between experience and design evolved: how eighteenth-century architects described their observations on buildings in their writings; which theoretical concepts they used to translate these into design theories for their lectures at the academies of architecture; and how they used them in their designs of buildings. This research seminar focuses on some of the dialogues of British and French architects across the Channel in the context of public architectural debates and on some key projects in eighteenth-century London and Paris that are exemplary for the interactions between experience and design.

About the speaker

  • Head and shoulder portrait of a woman in front of book shelf

    Sigrid de Jong is an architectural historian at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Since 2016 she conducts a research project on ‘Experience and Design: The Emergence of Architectural Experience in Paris and London, 1750-1815’, funded by NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). Her previous postdoctoral research was on primitivism and architectural theory in the NWO-VIDI project ‘The Quest for the Legitimacy of Architecture 1750-1850’, with Maarten Delbeke. She obtained her PhD in art and architectural history at Leiden University in 2010. Her book Rediscovering Architecture: Paestum in Eighteenth-Century Architectural Experience and Theory (based on her PhD thesis) was published by Yale University Press in 2014. Together with Caroline van Eck she is the editor of the Companion to Eighteenth-Century Architecture (series editor Harry Mallgrave, Wiley- Blackwell, to be published in 2017).