Research Narratives in Architecture: Researching the Barrack - Robert Jan van Pelt

Monday, February 13, 2023 12:40 pm - 1:25 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

What is architectural research? Unpacking a research project

A monthly lunch-hour faculty research seminar

12:40-1:25pm, free pizza provided

Format: 25-minute presentations, followed by a 20 minute Q+A

The purpose of these presentations is look under the hood at a single research project, in order to understand:

  • what the research question is
  • what research methodologies are used
  • how a project is funded
  • who participates in it and how
  • what the research findings are
  • how those findings are disseminated.

The objective of the seminar is to give faculty, students and staff a better sense of the breadth of research undertaken in the school, to demystify the process, and to better understand how to get involved in these projects or to start new ones.

Seminar 1: Researching the Barrack - Robert Jan van Pelt

The barrack, defined here as a temporary building cobbled together by soldiers in the field out of materials at hand, or put together from prefabricated elements, has been a building type that in the past 200 years has been produced in hundreds of thousands to provide instant shelter during natural or man-made catastrophes, but it has largely escaped the attention of architectural historians and theorists—mainly because so few of these buildings survive as almost all of them were pulled down after the emergency passed.. In an eight-year-long research project, partly supported by SSHRC grants, Robert Jan van Pelt has reconstructed the fascinating history of this building type, which was decisively influenced by key figures in the history of military medicine. UWSA coop students provided decisive help in reconstructing many of the barrack types on the basis of often scanty information. The result is a 150,000 word long 188 illustrations rich monograph that is ready for publication.