L.M. (Linda) Bleijenberg MA

  • PhD student (2010, supervisors prof.dr. C.A. van Eck and dr.ir. M.J.F. Delbeke)
  • Art history

Fields of interest

Architectural theory 1750-1850


In 1753 the abbé Laugier published his Essai sur l'architecture, in which he presented la petite cabane rustique, primitive man's first building consisting of four poles, four beams and a roof, as the very embodiment of the true principles of architecture. The Essai attracted considerable attention (and controversy) for its novel ideas, although the image of the primordial hut was not new: since the rediscovery of Vitruvius in the fifteenth century, a reference to architecture's origins had been a more or less obligatory ingredient of architectural treatises. However, whereas in Renaissance theory the hut had functioned merely as a starting point for architecture's historical development, while also establishing a connection between the origin of architecture and that of civilization, Laugier's cabane was presented as a normative, a-historical point of reference with very specific formal characteristics.
What connects the two approaches is the implicit assumption that architecture has cultural relevance. Renaissance treatises legitimized contemporary architecture's cultural meaning by referring to classical architecture, which was seen as the visual expression of a superior civilization; Laugier on the other hand, points to the Greek temple as a model because it most closely resembles the cabane. His claim for cultural relevance depends on other modes of thought and frames of reference, a tendency that characterizes the architectural theory of the period 1750-1850. This project sets out to trace the development of the cabane and other reconfigurations of the hut: how its subsequent transformations reflect and influence changes in contemporary design theory and its claim that buildings have cultural meaning, and how they are influenced by the intellectual and cultural contexts of these texts.
This research project is part of the VIDI-programme 'The quest for the legitimacy of architecture in Europe (1750-1850)', directed by dr. ir. M.J.F. Delbeke.

Curriculum vitae

  • October 2010-now: PhD researcher Leiden University
  • August 2010: MA Art History, Leiden University
  • September 2009: BA Italian Language & Culture, Leiden University

Last Modified: 31-01-2013